FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/23/2015
Council refocuses 2016 budget on urgent and immediate needs
Budget actions invest limited resources to deliver results for homeless
Seattle – Following today’s final vote to approve the 2016 City Budget by a vote of 8-1 in Full Council, members issued the following statements:
Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Budget Committee, said, “I want to thank our central staff, analysts, attorneys, my legislative staff and others who worked tirelessly on a balancing package which met the needs of our city. I’m proud of the budget and cost-effective strategies my colleagues and I put together to ensure Seattle families, communities and the economy have what they need to thrive. I also want to highlight the innovative new Youth Participatory Budgeting program, which will allow young people to not only directly decide how to spend $700,000 in city funds; it will also help train young people in working with city departments to develop proposals, helping to give them the skills and knowledge they need to become effective community leaders,” Licata added.
“This budget reflects the priorities of our city and funds many new and innovative government programs, not to mention the basics like emergency response, electricity and other utilities, and transportation. I’m particularly pleased to see new funding for gun safety, for community-based crime prevention, for small businesses and for immigrants and refugees,” said Council President Tim Burgess.
“During budget, I worked to fill out Seattle’s gender wage equity toolkit,” said Councilmember Jean Godden. “We were able to show that this city is strongly committed to ensuring women have access to fair wages and career growth opportunities. Among the solutions: Planning for a childcare center on the city campus, doing a pilot project for a possible infants at work’ policy, launching a STEM apprenticeship program for women and people of color and funds for citywide gender pay equity efforts.”
“I am excited that the Council joined me in funding $1.9 million towards pre-development costs for a Southeast Economic Opportunity Center,” said Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell. “This new one of a kind center will provide services supporting post-secondary education connected to job development services, multi-cultural offices, early childhood education and training, and offer our youth a pathway to economic opportunity.”
“Budgets should reflect our priorities, and I am proud that this budget includes new funding for programs that will advance racial and economic equity in our city,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “I am especially proud that we are investing $1 million to provide ORCA cards to low-income students in Seattle Public Schools, that we are investing over in community-based efforts to help prevent youth detention so all young people have the opportunity to succeed, and that we are investing in long-term strategies to help prevent future displacement as the city continues to grow and prosper.”
“My goal in this budget was to make a marked difference for people experiencing homelessness. I am proud of Council’s collaboration with Mayor Murray to expand investments in prevention services, including Rapid Rehousing, and intervention services, like case management at encampments. I look forward to working with our Human Services Department as well as coordinating with King County and our human services providers to take better care of our neighbors who need us,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.
“The stars of this budget session were the citizens of Seattle who came to Council Chambers, who emailed, phoned and wrote informed and passionate letters on the issues,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “I am particularly pleased that we made major investments in human services, transportation, and parks and open space,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.
Councilmember John Okamoto said, “Seattle’s most vulnerable communities deserve our best efforts, and this budget reflects that. It will result in better data so that we can properly serve our immigrant and refugee communities; it will get people off the streets and into housing; and it will grow the capacity of organizations that provide vital human services. I’m honored to have contributed to the process, and I leave Council on a high note.”
“Council managed to pass several important amendments to the city budget that will meaningfully impact the lives of regular people in Seattle. We double funding for jobs programs like Career Bridge and pre-apprenticeship programs, and allocate money for essential tenant organizing. However, on balance the budget differs little from previous years, and fails to address the acute housing crisis, inadequate transit, and ballooning inequality and injustice permeating Seattle,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
A Summary of Council Changes to the Mayor’s proposed 2016 budget is available ONLINE.
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