‘We brought forward fresh ideas, informed by our communication with residents, to ensure health, safety, and housing in the midst of pandemic’
Following nearly eight weeks of discussions in the Council’s Budget Committee Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), Chair of the Budget Committee, and her colleagues reviewed more than 169 amendments to the Mayor’s proposed budget as part of the Council’s Balancing Package over the course of two days. This included about 43 new or modified amendments compared to the balancing package discussed on November 10th in the Select Budget Committee.
“This budget package reflects the Council’s shared priorities, and though we haven’t completely solved the compounding crises that demand investments and divestments, we will continue to fight for equitable solutions to homelessness, affordable housing, and small business supports,” said Mosqueda. “As we have throughout this spring and summer, we led with investments in our BIPOC community and support for our most vulnerable families and small businesses.”
Councilmembers discussed and voted on three different groupings:
1. Group A: Balancing Package not impacted by Form C proposals (Wednesday, November 18)
2. Group B: Form C Consent Amendments Package and potential substitutions (Wednesday, November 18)
3. Group C: From C proposals not in Group B and Self-balanced (Thursday, November 19)
“As Seattle residents continue to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19, the economic crisis and our struggle for racial justice, I am proud that the Seattle City Council’s revised 2021 budget has centered the needs of our most vulnerable residents” said Council President M. Lorena González . “This budget reflects my priorities of fully restoring the Legal Defense Fund for immigrants, investing in climate resilient strategies for the City, reserving rental assistance for disabled Seattlites and families with school-aged children, and creating new investments in programming that focuses on the educational success of Black girls and young women, Black queer youth, and Black trans youth. These investments will further our shared goal of investing in the strength and resilience of Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.”
“I am gratified that this budget package includes important investments for District 1, like the South Park Public Safety Coordinator, and neighborhood-based homeless encampment interventions that don’t rely on SPD involvement. These investments serve everyone who lives and works in D1 and reinforce the Council’s vision for promoting community safety by reducing the SPD workload and leveraging community-based solutions,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold. “Further, creation of a new Community Safety and Communications Center allows the Council and Mayor to continue the important work of further identifying public safety functions that sworn officers do not need to take so that a smaller police force, together with $10 million in community safety investments, can better fulfill a more focused law enforcement mission and reduce the harm experienced by BIPOC communities from over-policing.”
“This is my first Council budget and I am happy to see that we’ve been so successful in advocating for District 2. For far too long, my District’s interests were not reflected in the city’s budget,” said Councilmember Tammy J. Morales. “I want to thank Budget Chair Mosqueda for recognizing inequities in mobility by funding the Georgetown to South Park trail and sidewalks along Rainier Avenue. These investments will allow families, seniors, and commuters to have access to green space and the ability to move more safely in their neighborhoods. As I explained earlier about my office’s budget principles, we put forth amendments to the Mayor’s budget that would repair the harm done to Black and Brown communities, democratize access to resources, and prepare for the seventh generation with healthier communities. These additions are a good start and will provide much-needed investment in Seattle’s south end.”
“The People’s Budget and our socialist Council office has won crucial funding this year for renters and eviction defense, tiny houses, the Green New Deal, and Africatown’s affordable housing. As working people and marginalized communities face the pandemic and recession, our movement will continue to advocate for big business to pay for the crisis, not working people,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
“Given the substantial tax revenue shortfall this year, I knew we needed to focus our energy on our city’s most urgent needs: responding to COVID, redirecting and reinvesting in community services and public safety, and providing support for those living unsheltered,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez. “Not only is this budget on track to achieve all three of these goals, but our Clean Cities Initiative will also clean up our beautiful parks, our neighborhoods, and business districts- vital resources for residents during this pandemic.”
“This budget addresses Seattle’s immediate needs and invests in the future. We secured funding for my top priorities – increasing access to fresh food through the Fresh Bucks program, bringing dedicated homelessness outreach workers to District 6 and across the city, preserving and expanding the Mobile Crisis Team, improving transit reliability for Route 44, strengthening tree protections, and taking action to address climate change,” Councilmember Dan Strauss.
“Despite a slew of crises and their acute impacts to City revenues, this budget proposal describes a path forward and shows the City Council’s commitment to a stronger, more equitable Seattle,” said Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis. “The inclusion of funds for three new tiny house villages, restoration of funding for the Home and Hope Program, maintaining work on the Thomas Street Redesign, funding the Nightlife Business Advocate, and addition of a consulting nurse to the Seattle Fire Department are just a few examples of fulfilled promises to our constituents that demonstrate the incredible potential for municipal budgets to change a city for the better.”
Councilmembers have participated in more than a dozen Budget Committee meetings since Mayor Durkan released her budget in September. Councilmembers listened to more than 14 hours of public comment from the community, including two five-hour public hearings where community members weighed in on Councilmember proposals. Councilmembers also received input and feedback from their district constituents through town halls events, community council meetings, meetings with stakeholders and office hours.
Councilmembers are expected to take a final vote on the balanced budget on Monday, November 23 during the Full Council meeting.