Minutes from now – at 9:30 am – the City Council‘s second day of the second round of budget-change reviews will start with a variety of proposals related to homelessness and other human-services issues.
You can see the list on the agenda – each item has a link to the “green sheet” briefly discussing what’s being proposed. The council’s just discussing at this point, not voting, so you have time to let them know what you think.
Last night, homelessness-related issues were a big topic as West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who is chairing the council’s Budget Committee this year, spoke with the WS Block Watch Captains Network at the Southwest Precinct.
Many wondered about proposals that would in effect allow camping in parts of city parks – the areas that are not “activated.”
Herbold declined to comment on specifics of proposed budget changes, saying she hadn’t seen/heard them in their entirety. She said she thinks the Mayor should be in charge of how the parks are managed, not the council, but whoever’s in charge, the city has to prioritize how to deal with the hundreds of places where people are camping, and priorities would include right of way (streets and sidewalks) and areas where public safety/public health concerns emerge.
Attendees voiced concerns about how much money is being spent on homelessness and how efficiently it’s being spent – whether the third parties who hold city contracts are using the public dollars well and whether they’re really helping people get housed.
Herbold also said the city is working on a pilot project to address the issue of abandoned/vacant houses, in hopes of discouraging owners from letting them remain that way.
As for the Seattle Police budget, Herbold told the WSBWCN meeting that the city remains on track for former Mayor Murray’s goal of 200 new officers by 2020 with 35 officers added last year and 37 in next year’s budget (see the SPD budget summary here).
And she mentioned the recent Alki Public Health and Safety Survey (results here), in which noise from loud vehicles – particularly cars and motorcycles with modified exhaust – was a top concern. Current noise laws don’t provide ways for the problem to be effectively dealt with, so she said the council would have to take a look at those laws in order to address the loud-vehicle problem.
We’ll report on the SPD updates from last night’s meeting in a separate report. Meantime, you can watch the budget discussions live via Seattle Channel – online or cable 21 – at 9:30 am and 2 pm today (again, here’s the agenda with links to proposed changes). There are also public-comment periods during the sessions, if you can make it to City Hall downtown (600 4th Ave.). And you can e-mail your thoughts to email@example.com. To catch up on what’s already happened, as well as backstory, see the council’s budget website.