I approached my first budget process as I do most of my work here at city hall – through the lens of my urban planning and policy background, and holding firm to four core values: fostering community, making the city more affordable, achieving greater public safety, and supporting kids and families.
After an incredibly busy eight weeks, I believe that the final result is a budget full of incredibly positive things for our community that align with these priorities, and I want to highlight a few projects for which I feel particularly proud to have sponsored or supported.
With the goal of fostering community:
- I sponsored the addition of $800,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department to be able to install lights on an additional city-owned athletic field. This year’s change in bell times has had quite an impact on field usage, and this add allows us to see more kids on the fields later in the evening;
- I co-sponsored the advancement of $6.5 million for Equitable Development Initiatives to allow organizations who currently call Seattle home to put brick and mortar behind their objectives;
- I very much supported the capital improvement investments we made in our city’s arts organizations, both big and small, as these organizations contribute so much to the vibrancy and economic well-being of Seattle;
- I supported the activation of King Street as it represents such a cultural asset in its infrastructure and I am excited to support the economic and social goals of this important revitalization project;
- And I sponsored the addition of $340,000 in education and outreach funding for the Office of Labor Standards to provide outreach to workers and employers about our labor laws ensuring everyone in this city is treated fairly and with respect.
With the goal of making the city more affordable:
- I sponsored the addition of $190,000 to be able to extend tenant relocation assistance to the residents of the soon-closing University Trailer park – an option not available to them prior to this budget action;
- I supported utilizing the city’s bonding capacity to direct $29 million toward the creation of more affordable housing;
- And I co-sponsored the addition of $400,000 to fund community planning and project feasibility work for development of affordable housing on publicly owned land in Seattle and $90,000 to fund the creation of an affordable housing strategic plan for more transit oriented development in the Northgate area.
With the goal of achieving greater public safety, especially in our public right of ways:
- I co-sponsored the acceleration of spending $1 million in 2017 and $4 million in 2018 of Move Seattle funds on Bike Master plan initiatives such as making 65th Ave NE a much safer street;
- I supported the addition of $150,000 for a parking benefit district pilot program to create more revenue to fund neighborhood transportation needs;
- And I co-sponsored legislation that will result in an increase of business license fees to fund 200 additional police officers so we can reduce our response times and increase public safety.
And with the goal of supporting kids and families:
- I co-sponsored the addition of $650,000 in contingency funds to be made available for childcare providers to use if they need to make improvements to a space so they can move quickly if necessary or get a space certified;
- I co-sponsored an the expansion of the Backpack Programs for Kids with $350,000 in both 2017 and 2018 to ensure that our kiddos are getting the sustenance they need to come to school prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom;
- And I supported the addition of $750,000 in both 2017 and 2018 to expand the reach of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship program – a critically important program providing college prep to some of Seattle’s high school seniors who need it most
I want to extend my thanks to the constituents of D4 for sharing their budget priorities and helping guide the process through civic engagement, to the representatives from different organizations advocating for support of the meaningful work they do in our community, and to my council colleagues who worked so hard to invest in a core set of values reflected in this budget.
Thanks to the diligence of many during this budget process, I feel proud that our collective additions reflect a commitment to equity and access, support infrastructure for our growing community, keep a vigilant focus on the creation of affordable housing, improve pedestrian and bike safety on public right of way, and so meaningfully invest in the next generation.