This Week’s Budget Update
Last week the City Council Budget Committee held a public hearing on Tuesday evening, and continued into the phase of budget negotiations referred to as, “Issue Identification,” when Council Central Staff presents highlights of department budgets and issues for potential changes that the Council might want to consider, as well as issues and proposals identified by Councilmembers themselves.
This week the Budget Committee is scheduled to meet beginning Tuesday to consider specific budget proposals. Confirmation of meetings and agenda items can be found at the Budget Committee meeting schedule. You can also sign up to receive the agendas in advance by e-mail here. Here’s a link to the Budget calendar and background on the budget process.
Below are links to Issue ID presentations, along with a few highlights:
Parks and Recreation (DPR) – I have proposed funding for two items in DPR:
Open Colman Pool for An Additional Month in Summertime – This proposal would add $60,000 in ongoing funding, with entrance fees as a revenue source, to support opening Colman Pool for one more month in the summer. Currently the pool is budgeted to operate for approximately 14 weeks (between late May and early September).
Enhance Trail Access Points on Southwest Brandon Street – This proposal would add $50,000 in one-time funding for a community planning process for enhancements to trail access points along Southwest Brandon Street in West Seattle, as recommended in the North Delridge Action Plan.
I proposed adding the Highland Park Way SW/SW Holden Street Roundabout project to the SDOT Capital Improvement Program (CIP), to show a city commitment to completing this project. SDOT submitted an application to WSDOT City Safety Grant to fully fund the $2.5 million cost, and is has allocated $200,000 to design, and is reserving $300,000 for a local match for the grant. If awarded the grant, construction is targeted for completion by September 2021.
I also raised the issue of SDOT’s paving plan, listed in the SDOT CIP as the “Arterial Asphalt and Concrete,” and geographic equity.
The original 2016-2024 paving plan included Avalon and 35th to Alaska; Roxbury from 16th to 35th in 2021; and 35th SW between Morgan and Roxbury in 2023.
SDOT is proposing to revise the paving plan, along with other programs included in the Move Seattle Levy. The revised version would remove both the 35th and Roxbury projects, and add Delridge Way SW from Sylvan Way to the West Seattle Bridge entrance. The revised proposal notes that of projects completed or underway, none are in District 1, and of the 18 planned through 2024, two are; two of the nine projects proposed for delay are in District 1.
I’ve heard more constituent comments about the condition of 35th Avenue SW than any other major arterial. SDOT will be completing an updated pavement condition report in the first quarter of 2019; the most recent report, from the 2015 SDOT Asset Management Report, is based on a 2013 review of pavement conditions, and confirmed what we all know, that portion of 35th in bad shape.
This week to address this, I’ll be proposing budget actions to add paving for 35th into the CIP for 2023. The CIP entry doesn’t currently list specific paving projects, so it is trickier to add a CIP entry for this project than other individual projects listed in the CIP. Also, the Council can only condition spending for next year’s budget, not future budgets. I’ll also be proposing that the Council require that the new, revised Move Levy spending plan, due to be submitted by December 1, 2018, be approved by the Council before SDOT is authorized to implement the new plan.
Cross-cutting issues and Miscellaneous Issue ID (multiple departments)
Capital Project Oversight
I am proposing legislation to state the City’s intent to establish enhanced reporting requirements for the City’s Capital Improvement Program projects, and to use a “stage-gate” appropriation process for selected projects. This resolution memorializes the work that the Council, Mayor and CBO have done over the last few years to increase capital project oversight.
The resolution outlines the use of two new key tools: 1) enhanced quarterly reports for projects on the “Watch List,”, which show project risk in green, yellow, or red, based on risk factors re: scope, schedule, budget, coordination, community impact, and political risks; and 2) Selecting projects for “stage-based” appropriations, where the Council establishes spending limits for certain phases or activities on a capital project (such as we’ve done for the Delridge Multimodal Corridor project).
The resolution notes the intent to add projects to the Watch List with unclear scopes, shifting estimated costs, uncertain capital funding plans, ill-defined operating costs, plans, or funding plans; or other perceived significant questions about scope, schedule, and budget. The Mayor will propose a Watch List early in the year, and the Council will adopt it; projects can also be added during the year.
Work on updating capital project oversight began with a resolution the Council adopted in 2016 to “institute new rigor in capital project oversight that will increase appropriate and timely oversight and provide more transparency to the public”; Councilmember Johnson and I called for additional capital project oversight in 2016 as well.
As the resolution notes, “City capital projects such as the Elliott Bay Seawall Project and the utilities’ New Customer Information System cost millions of dollars over their original proposed budget and enhanced, timely reporting could have improved Council’s oversight by communicating potential project risks before the risks were realized.” The Move Seattle levy oversight Committee sent a letter to the Mayor and Council recommending “regular reporting on progress and challenges as projects move through their development process, especially as the true cost to deliver these projects comes into greater focus”.
The first batch of the new quarterly reports arrived in September, for the 2nd quarter:
- Reader’s Guide to Watch List Monitoring Report (this is the template for enhanced monitoring reports, and shows the level of risk in green, yellow or red)
- Individual Watch List reports (here’s a link to the Lander Street Project report)
- Discrete Project Report, listing every capital project, estimated cost, and cost variance
- Ongoing program report (e.g. street paving, seismic work on bridges)
The resolution also requests the Executive work with the Council’s Central Staff to develop a method for enhanced reporting for selected ongoing programs, or components of ongoing programs, for potential inclusion in the Watch List. Efforts up until now have focused on discrete project reporting.
- Department of Construction and Inspections
- Sweetened Beverage Tax
- Short-Term Rental Tax
- Navigation Team
- Human Services Department
- Office of Employee Ombud (OEO) + Ordinance establishing the OEO
- Office for Civil Rights
Neighborhood Street Fund Applications open through November 19
Applications for the 2019 Neighborhood Street Fund are open through 2019.
The Neighborhood Street Fund provides funding every three years for community-driven transportation-related improvement in the city’s right-of-way with an anticipated cost between $100,000 and $1 million. Anyone can apply. Funding comes from the 2015 Move Seattle Levy; $8 million is available for this cycle. Applications are open through November 19.
The application takes around 15 minutes, and requires a specific location and proposed solution.
In January and February there will be public meetings to rank proposed projects, and narrow the number of projects in each district. A public vote will take place after that.
Additional information is available at the Neighborhood Street Fund website, which includes applications in several languages. If you have questions, additional translated material, or need help with accessing the application, please contact us at email@example.com or 206-733-9361.
Projects awarded in the 2016 cycle include safety improvements at Harbor Avenue SW and SW Spokane Street, and walkway, lighting and safety improvements on 25th and 26th Ave. SW, connecting Chief Sealth High School and Westwood Village.
Rapid Ride H Line Online Open House/Survey
King County Metro has an online open house about the Rapid Ride H Line. Bus 120, which runs from Burien, White Center, Delridge, and Downtown Seattle is planned to convert into a Rapid Ride line in 2021.
The open house for the overall project is available here; you can list your priorities for the Delridge/Westwood Village area here.
SDOT also has an online survey open through November 11.
The City’s Capital Improvement Program refers to this as the Delridge Multimodal Corridor project. The next update from SDOT on 30% design is expected in December, as required by an amendment I sponsored. SDOT and King County Metro are in negotiations about roles, responsibilities and cost sharing for the project.
SPU Syringe Pickup Program
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) manages the City’s needle pilot program. This program, which began in 2016 when I sponsored, and the Council allocated $200,000 to address the accumulation of trash and the public health impacts of unsanctioned encampments. Then in the passage of the 2017 budget the Mayor and City Council added additional funding for this purpose. These funds were used by SPU to develop and support three pilot programs: The Litter Pilot, The Needle Pilot, and The Unsanctioned Encampment Bag Pilot.
Specifically, the needle program operates in two ways to help remove sharps from public property. The first is responding to reports of needles. You can report a needle to SPU by calling (206) 684-7587, reporting it online here, or the Find it, Fix it smartphone app. SPU will collect sharps the public property within 24 hours.
Secondly, SPU manages 11 drop-off locations, you can see their locations on this map. In addition to these drop-off locations you can dispose of needles at the North or South Transfer Stations.
Since the pilot program has launched SPU has collected more than 111,760 syringes through reports and the disposal drop-boxes.
If you see a needle on private property, do not pick it up with bare hands. SPU has produced a video with instructions on how to pick up needles safety.
The Vera Project GOTV
The Vera Project is hosting a youth-led, community driven Get Out the Vote celebration on November 1st at 6:00PM. There will be live music featuring Sassyblack, Cumulus, and KEXP’s DJ Troy Nelson. There will also be appearances from community leaders and Seattle City Councilmembers, including myself.
You are encouraged to bring your ballot and questions. The event is free, but sign up to get tickets here as it’s likely to sell out.
You should have already received your ballot in the mail. If you haven’t please visit the King County Elections website to learn how to get a replacement ballot.