Budget Season Begins

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2016 general fund budgetIt’s City budget time again. Last week the Mayor presented his budget proposal to the Council and this week the Council heard more details from the various department heads. Starting October 19, we will begin to identify issues and possible changes the Council will want to make. You can find the budget schedule here; there is one more public hearing at City Hall on Tuesday, October 20.

Staff and councilmembers are beginning to dive into the Mayor’s proposal, and we’re hearing from members of the public about their priorities. I’m particularly happy to see a few elements included in the Mayor’s proposal:

  • Funding for a gun violence intervention program for gunshot wound victims at Harborview hospital. Grounded in City-funded research that shows these victims are more likely to be repeat victims or future perpetrators of violence, this program has serious potential to save lives and improve public safety.
  • Funding to continue a community-driven crime prevention effort in Rainier Beach. This program was started with Federal funds and is being evaluated by researchers at George Mason University.
  • Increasing arts funds by changing policy to dedicate 80% of the existing admissions tax to the Office of Arts and Culture, higher than the current 75%. I would like this set aside to get to 100% by 2018.
  • Dedicated capital funds for new or expanded community health facilities around the City.
  • The Fire Department’s proposal to include basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training as part of its own recruitment process, as opposed to requiring it as a prerequisite, in order to increase the diversity of its applicant pool.

Details on the Mayor’s proposal are here. More information can also be found on the Council’s budget page. Please engage with the Council as we decide how best to allocate the City’s resources.