Seattle’s Annual Budget Process is underway! Every year the Seattle City Council is tasked with evaluating the Mayor’s Proposed Budget. I believe this process should be as open and transparent as possible, so I’ve decided to link you to some existing websites that I believe are valuable resources for following this process as an educated voter. First, our Budget Webpage is updated with great graphics to give you a broad overview of the sequence of events. Secondly, my colleague, Councilmember Nick Licata, wrote a very readable blog post explaining the process. Lastly, our Budget webpage has a Glossary of Terms which will help walk you through any unfamiliar jargon.
The review of the budget is one of the most important jobs of the city council and is an opportunity to prioritize issues that are truly important for the community. Of course, there are many issues I’m going to be supporting, signing onto, or pushing through; but in an effort to be concise I wanted to share with you my top three budget priorities.
- More services and funding for LGBTQ Seniors and senior centers.
- This issue is two separate Budget Actions (or Green Sheets). One proposes adding $250,000 to the Human Services Department (HSD) for the provision of social support services at Senior Centers typically provided by licensed social workers. The second proposes adding $75,000 to HSD to support cultural competency and equity training for professionals working with LGBTQ older adults, families, and caregivers.
- A Planning Process to increase Open Space within the City of Seattle to ensure healthy, livable communities for generations to come.
- Allocating funds for project planning to The Office of Arts and Culture to support the development of an AIDS Memorial in the City of Seattle.
An excerpt from the green sheet:
Seattle experienced a tragic loss of nearly 4,000 persons in the first two decades of the AIDS epidemic. The history of the early days of the AIDS epidemic and how Seattle responded has not been comprehensively collected or recorded or presented.
The epidemic was met by a multiplicity of responses from a cross-section of our community who worked creatively, tirelessly and fearlessly to help those diagnosed with the HIV virus. Seattle communities responded in ways that were often groundbreaking, and left a legacy of citizen action and compassion that inspires us today.
Recently a consensus has formed among people who were active in the early days of the epidemic that the history of the AIDS epidemic in Seattle must be coherently and comprehensively told by those who were first on the front lines of the battle against AIDS. It is important to focus on chronicling what happened during the first years of Seattle’s AIDS Crisis, the lives that were lost, and how the City and community emerged from that crisis and responds today. Sharing this history is consistent with the recommendation of Mayor Murray’s LGBTQ Task Force that highlighted the need for the City to improve the public’s understanding of the history, current place, and values of the LGBTQ community.
As part of the budget process, the council will be presenting and discussing options next Thursday, October 29th, Friday October 30th, and Monday November 2nd. Please feel free to email or call my office with questions about my budget priorities or the process.