Economic Recovery Initiative Launched by Council

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On Monday, April 18, the Council unanimously adopted Resolution 31282, which outlines guiding principles, key priorities and actions for achieving economic renewal and development in Seattle.  Our goal is to use this action plan to advance City and regional recovery, as the recession wears on.  In previous recessions, Seattle has lagged behind the national recovery – this time, we want Seattle to lead the recovery This resolution builds upon Resolution 31135, adopted in May 2009, which restructured the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) and expanded its direct services and financing options for businesses, as well as implementing a series of other actions such as advancing funding for parks projects in order to put people to work and starting a ‘Buy Local’ campaign entitled ‘Only in Seattle’.  Almost all of the steps recommended in that resolution have been implemented over the last two years.

West Seattle Halal Market

The Healthy Foods Here initiative is one example.  Under our goal of stimulating small businesses in the local food economy, staff work with neighborhood stores to get more fresh produce into the store and community, and assist them in marketing fresh foods to the community.  Shakir Mohamud, the owner of West Seattle Halal Market, commented:  “I am so grateful for the support my business has received from the city program Healthy Foods Here.  Our sales of fresh fruits and vegetables have increased and we have attracted new customers.  I am happy to provide my customers healthier food choices.” The new resolution includes policies, strategies and programs that support job retention, job creation, education, training, and placement, with the goal of improving the City’s overall economy.  The resolution was developed through a community process that engaged representatives of small and large businesses, labor, community based organizations, and economic experts at our educational institutions, including a panel at the University of Washington. The Council and our community partners identified the following policy priorities:
  • Supporting community development that improves neighborhoods, encourages citizen and business engagement, and helps to lift people out of poverty.
  • Fostering economic development and renewal that assists in improving the overall health of the City’s economy.
  • Developing policies, strategies, and programs that support job retention, job creation, education, training, and placement.
  • Aligning the City’s policies, actions, and budget actions with the principles of economic development.
  • Protecting what is working well in Seattle now while striving to increase our ability to create a resilient and sustainable local economy.
  • Supporting and encouraging green careers and jobs, a transformation to a more green economy, and climate-friendly, high employment businesses and industries.
  • Supporting critical public safety and infrastructure investments.
  • Supporting transit and transit-oriented development.
  • Creating new partnerships between educational institutions, business, civic organizations, non-profits, labor, funders, and government that assist in short term economic renewal and longer term efforts.
  • Supporting existing local and regional economic development strategies and programs.
  • Identifying and developing opportunities to utilize flexible voluntary programs based on performance-based standards instead of mandated, prescriptive regulations.
The thirty-one specific actions to be taken in 2011-2012 and eleven longer-term actions are designed to:
  • Provide services that focus on the specific needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Enhance communications between business sectors and the City on policy issues.
  • Identify and implement near-term actions and policies that assist in economic renewal and a hospitable businesses climate.
  • Strengthen existing partnerships and build new partnerships that enhance the economic climate in Seattle and the region.
  • Support on-going efforts to set the groundwork for green economic development.
Our goal is to make it easier to do good business in Seattle, and put people back to work.  We do this through specific, concrete actions to improve Seattle’s business climate and create more jobs.  The plan also expands the work that other City departments and regional partners take to support and retain businesses, better prepare our workforce, and enhance Seattle’s quality of life.