Council Adopts 2018 City Budget
Chair Herbold: Budget will ‘meaningfully impact the lives of everyday people in Seattle’
Seattle – City Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park), and chair of the Council’s Budget Committee, issued the following statement today after the Council voted to adopt the 2018 City budget:
“Over the course of the last seven weeks my fellow members of the Budget Committee and I have scrutinized and debated Seattle’s fiscal priorities. Today’s vote to approve City spending reflects our collective attempt to balance the budget amidst a multitude of competing priorities. As Chair of the Council’s Budget Committee, I was responsible for assembling a final balancing package that addressed the values of our constituents, especially those with the most urgent needs. I believe our most vulnerable communities deserve our best efforts, and the budget we passed today reflects that effort.
“Together, my Council colleagues and I managed to pass several important amendments to the city budget that will meaningfully impact the lives of everyday people in Seattle, all while maintaining current service levels. The Council passed a number of items that ensured that essential services already in place will not be rolled back. These include but are not limited to keeping the doors open for an emergency shelter serving over 230 survivors of domestic and sexual violence, maintaining existing permanent supportive housing services, ensuring two transitional housing for homeless foster youth programs do not close, sustaining support for a homeless child care program, continued funding for homeless youth employment programs and resources to continue funding the Zero Youth Detention project.
“Simply maintaining these services is not enough, one needs to look no further than one’s place of business or own neighborhood to recognize that Seattle is in crisis. In addition to the 4,619 people in shelter or transitional housing programs, there are 3,857 people living unsheltered in our community. This is why a sustainable progressive revenue source is so necessary.
“The Council also added funding in other key areas, including (prime sponsors indicated below):
- Funding for public safety coordinator and pedestrian improvements identified by the South Park Public Safety Task force (Councilmember González)
- Funding for Georgetown-South Park Trail (Councilmember Harrell)
- Increased staffing at Magnuson Park Community Center (Councilmember Johnson)
- Community planning at Hubbard Homestead Park (Councilmember Juarez)
- Funding for the creation of a Safe Consumption Site (Councilmember Johnson)
- Funding for a new homeless youth opportunity center (Councilmember Bagshaw)
- Additional funding for the Priority Hire Program (Council President Harrell)
- Expanding the Ready to Work program to SW Seattle (Councilmember Herbold)
- Funding for expansion of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion to North Precinct, and to begin taking referrals from SW, SE, and South Precincts (Councilmember Juarez)
- Police Accountability: added two and a half positions and contracting funding for the Community Police Commission, and two positions for the Office of Police Accountability (Councilmember González)
- Support for tenant outreach and support services (Councilmember Sawant)
- Funding for two additional authorized encampments (Councilmember Sawant)
- Funding for Human Services Department staffing to support their increased workload in addressing the homeless crisis (Councilmember Harris-Talley)
- Funding a comprehensive community youth diversion program (Councilmember O’Brien)
- Support for legacy businesses including funding for legacy business owners to develop and implement the Legacy Business Designation Program and support for business entrepreneurs who are women and people of color (Councilmember Herbold)
- Significant increase to participatory budgeting to allow the public to act as decision-makers in prioritizing funding for neighborhood parks and streets (Councilmember Harris-Talley)
- Nursing support for public health and for unsheltered homeless people (Councilmember Bagshaw)
- Funding for outreach to employers to increase transit use among employees (Councilmember O’Brien)
- Support for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault including mobile advocacy services and sexual assault protection order legal representatives (Councilmember Gonzalez)
A complete Summary of Changes Council made to the Mayor’s proposed budget is available ONLINE.
“Often, we talk about economic prosperity not lifting all boats, but the proposition we are faced with — and the reason the Employee Head Tax was proposed — is because economic prosperity has not only failed to help everybody, but this economic prosperity has hurt some people. I believe that the beneficiaries of that economic prosperity must do more to address the impacts of prosperity that has not been shared by all.
“In seeking a budget that had, at its core, a principle of fiscal responsibility and sustainability, I proposed a progressive, ongoing revenue source to support a surge in affordable housing production to meet the great need of people living without homes. Instead of passing that ongoing revenue source, today the Council passed Resolution 31782. This resolution requires the Council to assemble a task force to be appointed by December 11. This task force will develop recommendations for a dedicated progressive revenue source to support people experiencing or at high-risk for homelessness and to raise no less than $25 million a year. This task force will deliver recommendations by February 26, 2018, and the Council will take legislative action by March 26. 2018. This is a huge win for those who have been waiting for something big and bold to address the city’s civil emergency on homelessness.
“This budget also takes three separate but important actions to continue the reform the City’s current encampment removal practices. First, the budget newly makes a requirement of Navigation Team funding new reporting on outcomes that benefit people. The Navigation Team is supported with significant funding by the city, not to move people from place to place, but to connect people with safer shelter and housing options. We must ensure that it is functioning to achieve those outcomes. Secondly, the budget makes a requirement of use of city funding for encampment removal, weekly reporting on how those removal actions are consistent with current policies as well as requiring recommendations for new policy improvements in the first quarter 2018. Lastly, this budget limits the numbers of locations where fencing can be used to prohibit people from accessing public property for their survival.
“I thank my colleagues, our Council staff, and the public for their time, attention, and patience throughout this process. I am grateful for our bold actions and the rigorous debate in which my colleagues engaged, and for the energy the public demonstrated throughout this process. Working together, we have created a budget that reflects the values of Seattle.”
Alex Clardy, Councilmember Herbold’s Office, 206-684-8803
Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications, 206-615-0061
# # #