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TOMORROW- Have Tickets or Other Seattle Municipal Court Issues?  Come To  Delridge Community Center From 10am – 4pm; Semi-Annual Streetcar Report Shows Operations Deficits; Reminder: Re-Entry Lunch and Learn Thursday December 6, 2018; In-District Office Hours


TOMORROW- Have Tickets or Other Seattle Municipal Court Issues?  Come To  Delridge Community Center From 10am – 4pm

Seattle Municipal Court will be at the Delridge Community Center tomorrow, Friday, November 30th, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. to help resolve warrants, share options for addressing unpaid tickets, provide relicensing assistance or a referral to a public defender.  They’ll also help people access supportive services through the Court Resource Center. No appointment is required.

A press release from the City Attorney notes that “warrant holders can set a future court date there and won’t face arrest. No prosecutors will be present at this Court-sponsored event.”

Having outstanding warrants make it harder to move forward in life. Attendees will learn their options to resolve SMC warrants in a welcoming, community-based location. Individuals with unpaid tickets will learn options to resolve their tickets through a payment plan or community service plan and how to regain their driver’s license. Court staff will answer questions about court processes, schedule hearings, and provide information on resources and support services available through the court.

Attendees will be able to access social services onsite including: DSHS benefits (food, cash, medical), referral for a vision exam and eye glass vouchers, Orca Lift reduced fare and other transportation passes, chemical dependency and mental health assistance, basic needs and referrals for other support services. Court partner organizations onsite for the event include: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Public Health – Seattle and King County, Navos and the YWCA.

Anyone who needs assistance is encouraged to attend Friday, November 30th, 2018, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106.

The event flyer is available in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer here: http://www.seattle.gov/courts/programs-and-services/court-resource-center.

This is a collaboration between the Seattle Municipal Court, King County Department of Public Defense, Seattle City Attorney’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Seattle Human Services Department.

The City Attorney’s press release notes City officials filed a motion to dismiss over 200 outstanding warrants for low-level non-violent misdemeanors that occurred 5-22 years ago, to allow law enforcement to focus on more serious, violent offenses.

 


Semi-Annual Streetcar Report Shows Operations Deficits

SDOT has released its November 2018 Semi-Annual Streetcar Report for the South Lake Union and First Hill Streetcar Lines. This is the first report since the June 2017 Semi-Annual Report was developed under a previous Mayor and previous SDOT leadership.

Streetcar operations are funded by fares, federal grants, and advertising sponsorships. The SLU line also receives operating contributions of $1.55 million from King County Metro and $229,000 from Amazon; the First Hill line receives $5 million from Sound Transit.

The new report shows that revenues have been insufficient to operate the lines in recent years. While projections for future years appear more realistic, it appears operations will require ongoing subsidies that were not originally contemplated.

Three key reasons explain the deficit: ridership is lower than projected; and farebox recovery (fares collected divided by operating costs) has been lower, and operating costs have increased;

Ridership on the SLU line decreased by 17% in 2016. 2017 ridership was 17% below projections included in the June 2017 report, and 39% below original estimates. For First Hill, ridership in 2017 was 882,000; the original forecast was 1.3 million.

For SLU, farebox recovery was projected for 35% in 2017, but was only 23%. For First Hill, farebox recovery was 10%, well below the projection of 29% included in the June 2017.

The result of fewer riders and lower farebox recovery is less revenue: for the SLU line, fare collection revenue was 31% below projections in 2016, 30% in 2017, and estimated at 34% in 2018. For First Hill, fare collections were 39% below estimates in 2016, 36% in 2017, and projected at 54% in 2018.

Operations costs have increased as well. 2018 SLU operation costs are projected to be 8% above projections. For First Hill, the increase from the King County/City agreement has been 15% in 2016, to 21% in 2017, and projected at 30% for 2018.

Less revenue and higher operations costs have resulted in an operations funding gap for the two lines of $1.4 million in 2016, $1.8 million in 2017, and $3.3 million in 2019.

Looking ahead, the report projects 3% ridership increases in future years. Farebox recovery projections are more in line with current collections (22% for SLU, 10% for First Hill), though they increase slightly with time.

The operations funding gap is projected to continue in future years: the 2019 budget includes an additional $4 million for operations costs. The original forecast that streetcar operations would not require additional subsidies has proven inaccurate.

The June 2017 Semi-Annual Report showed no operations deficits—it’s clear this was inaccurate. For example, for 2016 it showed $3.2 million in revenues for the SLU line; the updated report shows $2.8 million in revenues. Fare collections were overstated by $271,000, and federal grant contributions by $123,000. The 2017 report said the figures listed for 2016 were “Actual amounts,” but this doesn’t appear to be the case.

I appreciate the commitment of SDOT’s new interim leadership to more realistic, accurate projections. However, the figures do raise the question of how operations of the current streetcars will be funded in the long run: it’s clear there is a structural funding gap.

No long-term funding source has been proposed to cover the funding gap. The deficits from 2016 through 2018, and projected for 2019, are currently funded with street use fees and the commercial parking tax. We’ll need more if King County’s $1.55 million operations subsidy of the SLU Line runs out in 2019; negotiations with King County are ongoing. Sound Transit’s $5 million subsidy for First Hill expires after 2023. These compounded gaps in funding could mean an annual deficit of more than $10 million after 2023.

During the just-concluded budget process, the Council adopted my proposal that any operations agreement for a Center City Streetcar must include performance measures and operations funding sources for the first six years, as well as identified funding sources for construction—currently $60 million short—and contingency strategies if federal funds are not received.

In August the Mayor released an Initial Summary consultant report about the operations and construction cost problems regarding the Center City Streetcar.

 


Reminder: Re-Entry Lunch and Learn Thursday December 6, 2018

Please join the Re-Entry workgroup and the Seattle City Council for a special meeting of the Civil Rights, Utilities,  Economic Development, and Arts (CRUEDA) committee.  On Thursday December 6, 2018 the CRUEDA committee will host a lunch and learn to hear Seattle’s Reentry Work Group’s final recommendations and update on their work to examine and address the barriers individuals face when living with a criminal history.

The Seattle Reentry Work Group was created by City Council Resolution 31637 and passed unanimously by City Council in 2015 to coordinate and strengthen the City’s efforts to assist reentry.

The Work Group is comprised of community and institutional stakeholders working on reentry issues.  Everyone is welcome to bring a bag lunch to Seattle City Hall Council Chambers and learn from this important work.


In-District Office Hours
On December 14, I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave S) from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov).

These are my final office hours of 2018, I will release a tentative list of next year’s office hours at the beginning of January.

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