City Council 2015-6 Budget work begins soon

2015-2016 city budgetCity Council work on the 2015-2016 budget begins later this month; I’ll be serving as Chair of the Budget Committee.

The Council’s budget deliberations will begin when Mayor Murray presents his proposed budget to the Council on Monday, September 22.

Seattle’s adopted 2014 budget is $4.4 billion, of which $2 billion is for utilities. The General Fund budget is approximately $1 billion. Public safety is the largest General Fund expenditure, at $576 million.

According to the most recent update from the City Budget Office, the City of Seattle faces a $25 million shortfall for both 2015 and 2016. In early August, Mayor Murray directed City Departments to underspend current 2014 General Fund appropriations by 1% in order to prepare for this gap.

In a letter to Mayor in early August, the Council identified human services, public safety and transportation as the Council’s highest priorities for the 2015-6 biennium, and requested that funding for direct services be maintained. The Council also emphasized the need to improve the efficiency of service delivery, and noted that any new funding additions would require re-prioritizing existing resources.

The schedule for Council consideration of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget is as follows:

October 7-10:                    Department budget overviews: specific department schedules are here (please check agendas to confirm as meeting dates approach)

  • October 20-24               Issue Identification
  • October 30-Nov. 6         Presentation/Discussion of Options (Round 1)
  • November 12-14            Final Decisions and Votes (Round 2)
  • November 24                 Full Council adopts 2015 budget, endorses 2016 budget

The Council will hold two public hearings on the 2015-2016 budget:

As Chair, I asked that Departments present comparisons of 2013 and 2014 budgets to the 2015-2016 proposal, to monitor spending and revenue trends.

After presentation of Department overviews, Councilmembers and staff will identify issues for presentation. From that, Councilmembers will develop options for consideration in Round 1.

In order to be considered in Round 1, a specific budget proposal (called a “Green Sheet” or “Statement of Legislative Intent”) must have at least three Councilmembers signed on as sponsors (two in addition to the Councilmember developing the Green Sheet).

Additional information is available at the City Council’s budget website. In addition, the City Budget Office website has detailed information about the 2014 adopted budget, including 2014 Adopted Fund Financial Plans, and archives of previous budgets.

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