(5:19 PM NOTE: The video window now has the mayor’s speech as archived by Seattle Channel.)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 2:03 PM: Click “play” above and you’ll see, via Seattle Channel, the live feed from City Hall downtown as the City Council begins its weekly full-council meeting by hosting Mayor Murray’s presentation of the city budget proposal for 2017-2018.
While listening, we’re going through the just-released budget documents and will add highlights to this story.
First, Department of Transportation (SDOT):
*$440 million budget proposed for 2017, $561 million for 2018
*Not many West Seattle specifics, but the Fauntleroy Boulevard project is in for $7 million in 2018, so it looks like that’s the year projected for construction
In his speech, the mayor also called out the Lander Street Overpass project in SODO, of interest to many here, as it gets closer to full funding. (An “online open house” continues this week.)
Next, public safety.
Here’s the Seattle Police Department breakout. Overall, the budget says SPD would “hire 72 new officers [35 in 2017, 37 in 2018] and hire 25 new 911 communication center staff” for the entire city.
*Southwest Precinct (West Seattle/South Park) mentions: The patrol budget actually drops a bit over the next two years (as do the other precinct budgets). The number of full-time equivalents at the SW Precinct stays the same, at 124.
Here’s the Seattle Fire Department breakout. Its primary challenge is to keep up with attrition: ” As in previous years, the proposed budget adds funding for 35 additional recruits, for a total of 60 new recruits in 2017. The additional recruits, once trained, will fill existing positions that have been vacated as a result of retirements or other attrition.”
Since we’re on a peninsula, this excerpt from the SFD budget is notable:
Another programmatic area in which the Fire Department is making improvements this year is water rescues. SFD owns two large fire boats and several smaller rescue boats that are used primarily for fighting marine fires. Responses to water rescues are limited given that the City has one fireboat crew and one technical rescue/dive team. To address this, SFD proposes piloting a Surface Water Rescue Program to provide a greater level of water rescue capability. The proposed Surface Water Rescue Program will train up to 40 firefighters as technician level rescue swimmers and deploy them city-wide, allowing them to respond more quickly to water rescues.
3 PM: The mayor’s speech has just ended. Some had wondered whether protesters would disrupt it, as had happened to the City Council last week, but many would-be attendees were kept out of the chambers. Councilmember Kshama Sawant made a motion at the meeting’s start to let more people in, but the motion did not pass.
Speaking of participation – we have now started reviewing the Department of Neighborhoods‘ budget breakout.
This includes components of the mayor’s plan to cut city support for Neighborhood District Councils, hailed in a city document just a few years ago as a “nationally significant model of grassroots democracy, being Seattle’s only advisory committees whose members are entirely selected at the grass roots, rather than appointed top-down by elected officials or City agencies.”
This is further addressed:
Expanding Outreach and Engagement
In 2016, through Executive Order 2016-06, the Mayor tasked DON with leading an effort to implement equitable outreach and engagement plans and practices across all City offices and departments. Also in 2016, DON added two positions that will now be made permanent: one to oversee the re-envisioning of DON’s Outreach and Engagement Division and lead Citywide response efforts, and another to work with other departments to coordinate and leverage opportunities for effective outreach and engagement efforts.
DON is also reallocating and deploying resources, including staff, within the department to prioritize the
application of the community outreach and engagement principles that reflect the Mayor’s vision of inclusive participation. This vision is articulated in Executive Order 2016-06 and the proposed resolution on equitable community involvement practices submitted to the City Council as part of the Mayor’s 2017-2018 Proposed Budget. As part of this effort, DON will reallocate nine Neighborhood District Coordinator positions to meet this scope of work and the department’s business needs.
Those positions, which have provided city-staff support to the 13 district councils (two of which are in West Seattle – Southwest and Delridge), are still funded in the budget plan at a level similar to what’s budgeted now. Part of the “reallocation” is detailed in one budget line item:
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will fund positions in DON for outreach and engagement. Two existing Neighborhood District Coordinator positions will be reallocated to Strategic Advisor 1 positions. These positions will work closely with SDOT and the Office of Economic Development on improving outreach and engagement to neighborhoods and communities affected by large-scale infrastructure improvement projects.
4:19 PM: This mass e-mail from Neighborhoods director Kathy Nyland has more detail on the “reallocation.”
5:19 PM: The archived Seattle Channel video of the mayor’s speech has now replaced what had been the “live” video window above. Also – if you missed it in earlier stories – Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s explanation of how the budget process goes from here, with specific dates, is in her newest online update.
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