“My colleagues and I have this year — not once, but twice — reviewed, evaluated and adjusted the City’s Budget to reflect this city’s needs and values. Working with Seattle residents and workers, listening to over 15 hours of public comment, and reviewing more than 169 amendments, we’ve crafted a 2021 Budget that invests in what we need most — affordable housing, public health measures, community safety, the environment and economic recovery.
“The investments we made are real dollars for real people. We’ve made historic investments in our BIPOC communities, including new and sustained investments in our indigenous community. We’ve completely re-configured how we engage with our unsheltered population, and increased our aid to our homeless neighbors. We’re helping working families by increasing childcare services, and aged seniors in need of food insecurity programs. We’re supporting affordable housing and our small businesses through COVID relief, so we can experience a thriving and more equitable economic recovery.
“Over the course of the last 2 budget cycles as Chair, I have set out to do 3 things in response to the movement for Black Lives: 1) downsize the SPD’s budget, 2) invest in community alternatives that produce healthy outcomes for our BIPOC communities, and 3) not grow the size of the force in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders, and thanks to the amendment on Monday, the budget no longer reflects new net hires. We have much more work to do, and we must get to work on those next steps now.
“To my Council colleagues: I sincerely thank you for the legendary work that has been accomplished and the investments we’ve collectively prioritized, despite being faced with a global pandemic, the climate crisis, this racial reckoning, and a long-standing housing crisis.
“There are aspects of this Budget which are of critical importance, that a year ago we couldn’t have imagined as necessary as they are today. I imagine we will have to continue to make tough choices next year, and ensure our Budget is fiscally responsible while providing funding that serves our most vulnerable residents.”
“We have much more work ahead of us as we head into our third, and toughest, wave of COVID-19, small business closures, and the mental and emotional turmoil staying home during the holidays will have on many Seattlites. Many of our neighbors are on the brink of homelessness and many continue to remain unhoused. Many families are struggling to make ends meet or to balance work with childcare and education. And the federal government has not led or provided the support we need. In this vacuum, we must lead and we will. We’ll move right into the fourth quarter supplemental and then work with community members to spend the City’s reserves.”