Councilmember Licata Announces Council Budget Review Process

Councilmember Licata Announces Council Budget Review Process

SEATTLESeattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Council’s Budget Committee, today announced this autumn’s City Council budget review process. The announcement follows delivery of Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2015-2016 operating budget earlier today.

“I look forward to examining the Mayor’s proposed budget, keeping in mind the highest priorities the Council expressed in a letter to the Mayor in early August: human services, public safety and transportation. Those priorities were informed by a series of community meetings I hosted earlier this year.”

Public input is vital to Council review and helps Councilmembers develop a budget that best reflects the needs of the City.  The Council will hold two public hearings, on October 7 at Garfield Community Center, and October 23 at Seattle City Hall. Both begin at 5:30 p.m.

The schedule for Council consideration of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget is as follows:

October 2              Overview of Mayor’s Proposed Budget

October 7-10:         Department budget overviews

October 20-24        Issue Identification

October 30-Nov. 6  Presentation/Discussion of Options (Round 1)

November 12-14     Final Decisions and Votes (Round 2)

November 24          Full Council adopts 2015 budget, endorses 2016 budget

The Council’s budget website has additional information, including a glossary of budget terms and links to supporting documents, as they become available.  All budget documents will also be publically accessible on the updated City Clerk’s online budget database.

Councilmember Licata recorded this video that explains the Council’s budget process and timeline.

The public is welcome to attend meetings, and can watch live on the Seattle Channel at http://www.seattle.gov/councillive.  Comments on the budget can also be submitted online to nick.licata@seattle.gov.

 

Budget Public Hearings

Tuesday, October 7

5:30 p.m.

Garfield Community Center

2323 E Cherry St.

Seattle, WA  98122

 

Thursday, October 23

5:30 p.m.

City Council Chambers

600 4th Avenue, 2nd floor

Seattle, WA  98104

River Conditions Improve, Lift City Light’s Financial Forecasts

Improved water conditions in the rivers that power Seattle city Light’s hydroelectric dams are brightening the utility’s financial forecasts and helping to hold down costs for customers.

“While energy markets and hydroelectric power generation can be volatile, these improved conditions should avoid any rate surcharges for our customers for the foreseeable future,” General MAnager and CEO Jorge Carrasco said. 

The latest federal river flow models project more water being available for City Light’s Boundary and Skagit hydroelectric projects as well as the Bonneville Power Administration dams where City Light gets a slice of the output. More water means more electricity the utility can sell. Even with already low electricity prices dropping a bit recently, the increased power supply should mean more revenue for City Light.

The bottom line is a $2.7 million boost for City Light compared to June forecasts.

City Light now expects to earn $89.4 million from sales of electricity to other utilities, exceeding the amount called for in its 2014 budget. That is a significant change from January, when poor snowpack conditions suggested that City Light might not meet its budgeted revenue, which could have triggered surcharges on our customer-owners.

As a result of the improved conditions, City Light expects to avoid any rate surcharges through October 2017, which is as far as the utility’s forecasts project. Those forecasts are based on average water years in the future.

“To further reduce the risk of customer surcharges, our recently updated Strategic Plan steadily reduces the amount of money we depend on in our budget from sales of electricity to other utilities,” Carrasco said. “The goal is to continue providing low, predictable energy costs for our customers.”

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.