(Seattle Channel video of today’s budget signing)
The two-month-long process of changing and finalizing next year’s budget ended today with Mayor Tim Burgess signing what the City Council passed a day earlier. So what’s in it for our area? Here’s how West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who led the budget process this year – broke it down in her weekly update:
*Funding for public safety coordinator and pedestrian/lighting improvements identified by the South Park Public Safety Task Force
*Statement of Legislative Intent report from SPD by March 16 about solutions to vehicle-noise enforcement and cruising in Alki (which could also affect Fauntleroy and Belltown)
*Expand the Ready to Work project into District 1. There are unique challenges facing immigrants and refugees living in SW Seattle. The Ready to Work model is designed to support Seattle residents who are English learners and hinges on the intensive centralized and neighborhood-based support available to these English learners. The special features of this project include level 1-3 ESL classes, 12 hours a week of classes focused on supporting English learners to succeed in a professional environment, intensive case management, and curriculum focused on digital and financial literacy. The Ready to Work expansion is currently in its planning phase and is slated to open in April of 2018.
*Funding to plan and design walkable, bikeable path uniting the Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods to enhance walkability between Georgetown and South Park’s historic “Main Streets” and connect the heart of the Duwamish Valley
*Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD): expansion of LEAD to North Precinct, and to begin taking referrals from the SW and South Precincts, and a Statement of Legislative Intent to expand LEAD citywide in 2019
*Addition of $1 million for participatory budgeting (done through the Neighborhood Parks and Streets Fund), which, in 2017, funded projects in Delridge, Westwood/Highland Park, High Point, and South Park
*Vacant Building Monitoring Program: While working on legislation earlier this year to modify maintenance and demolition standards related to vacant buildings I worked to add an amendment that would require the department to present the Council with legislation by March 31, 2018. Requiring property owners to register vacant and foreclosed properties allows the City to register properties to ensure they are maintained and secure, and are not a nuisances to the public. The City has experienced a significant increase of complaints about vacant buildings – between 2013 and 2016 we saw an increase of 58%. Of those, District 1 has the second highest amount of complaints at 189 between 2013 and 2016.
That is only part of Councilmember Herbold’s budget wrapup (which you can read in full here). She also lists key points under these headings:
-Human Service and Homelessness
-Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee
And finally, she writes about what’s next for the “head tax” proposal – explaining the resolution that the council passed, days after their 5-4 vote against including it in next year’s budget:
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, as noted in the Mayor’s proposed budget. 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 more than double the units built with Housing Levy funds – to meet the great need of people living without homes. Instead of passing that ongoing revenue source, 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.
The full list of council changes to the mayor-proposed budget is here.