This Monday kicked off my inaugural City Budget Season as the Mayor presented his proposal to the Council (you can watch the speech here). Staff and councilmembers are in the initial stages of diving into the Mayor’s proposal, and next week the Council will be hearing more details from the various department heads.
Ever since I took office I’ve been hearing from members of the public about their priorities and how the City can support those through our investments – and I’ve been taking note. I’m particularly happy to see a few elements included in the Mayor’s proposal that align directly with my priorities, and those of my constituents:
- Funding the expansion of community center hours, staffing and programming to underserved communities. This is critically important for centers like Magnuson Park.
- Funding to keep us on track to have 200 more fully trained police officers in service by 2020. I’ve heard from many about the unsettling rise in property crime throughout our neighborhoods and this funding will ensure that our officers can be more responsive and have the time to enact community based policing strategies like our Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program that I feel are incredibly important.
- Dedicating capital funds for new or renovated performing arts centers around the City and creating an annual capital fund for cultural institutions. Last year several candidates including myself pushed for 100% of our city’s arts admissions tax revenue to be dedicated back to arts investments and that promise is fulfilled in the Mayor’s budget.
- Maximizing our investments in the expansion of our Seattle pre-school program, which this past summer finished its successful first year in 15 classrooms serving 280 students– 75% of whom were students of color.
- Combating homelessness. There is work to do to ensure we’re serving the most people with our city’s resources and I am happy to see new approaches suggested in the Mayor’s Pathway’s Home initiatives are included in his proposed budget, but I believe we can also provide better immediate outreach and services to folks currently living on our streets.
There are additional priorities I’ll be pushing for over the course of the budget process, including working with SDOT to promote Vision Zero efforts, specifically along NE 65th, and identifying capital funds we can use to preserve or maintain spaces that play vital roles in our neighborhoods, like U Heights. I’ll also be looking for ways that we can dramatically increase our funding for green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). GSI investments are an important way for us to build out our green space and tree canopy, create jobs, increase safety on our streets, and improve our environment. Look out for more updates as our budget conversations are now underway.
Details on the Mayor’s proposal are here. More information can also be found on the Council’s budget page. There are two public hearings at City Hall (this year I made sure that we can offer childcare at both):
- Wednesday, October 5 at 5:30 pm in Chambers
- Tuesday, October 25 at 5:30 pm in Chamber
I hope you are able to join us and share your thoughts! If you are unable to attend, you can always reach out to our office with your comments at 206.684.8808 or Rob.Johnson@seattle.gov.