The City Council’s Budget Committee today recommended approval of the 2015 annual budget by a vote of 9-0 today, thereby enhancing the proposed budget Mayor Ed Murray delivered on September 22.
In a letter to the 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 thanks the Mayor for doing so.
The Council focused on reworking the proposed budget to place greater emphasis on human services, social justice, and funding education and enforcement for city labor standards.
“I have worked with my Council colleagues to ensure that we continue to protect the health, safety and mobility of all Seattle residents,” said Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Budget Committee. “And we are still providing assistance to the most needy.”
Councilmembers incorporated feedback received from hundreds of Seattleites during four community meetings last spring and two public hearings this fall. Additionally, comment was received via email, in writing, and by phone, and is reflected in Council’s final product. While Councilmembers have maintained many of the Mayor’s proposals, they have added or enhanced funding for some projects and issues, which include but are not limited to:
- Human Services:
- $945,000 for homelessness, including $200,000 annually to provide further support for hygiene services, such as free restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities for individuals and families who are homeless;
- $150,000 for street outreach for homeless youth;
- $200,000 to implement the Mayor’s Task force recommendations;
- $100,000 annually to support people living in transitional encampments,
- $175,000 for regional partnerships to address homelessness; and
- $120,000 annually for year-round, low-barrier shelter for homeless women.
- In addition, the Council added $250,000 for development of the Meridian Health Center in North Seattle, which provides integrated medical, dental, behavioral, and other services to approximately 14,000 low-income people annually;
- $250,000 for the University food bank, as part of $368,000 for food programs; and
- Added $300,000 annually for flexible and mobile advocates for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, estimated to serve 150 victims per year, particularly in immigrant and marginalized communities, an increase of 22% over current levels.
- The Council added $1.7 million in 2015-6 to assist non-profits in complying with the minimum wage ordinance.
- Social Justice/Labor Standards:
- $1 million for community-outreach and education on City labor standards in 2015 and 2016;
- Accelerated hiring staff for enforcement of labor standards to 2015.
- Council also approved funding to increase the wage of all City jobs to $15 an hour beginning in April, 2015.
The Full Council will adopt the final budget on Monday, November 24. A summary of the major Council’s budget modifications is available online.