Councilmember Rivera Brings New Amendment to Help EDI Projects Succeed

Updated legislation removes proviso, seeks OPCD report on getting promised projects to community faster

SEATTLE – After engaging with members of the community and Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) stakeholders, Councilmember Maritza Rivera won’t ask for a funding proviso, but will continue to call for a detailed report on how to make sure the EDI program and its 56 ongoing projects are able to use funds allocated to them in the city budget. 

“These are important projects; how can EDI make the changes needed to get them across the finish line?” asked Rivera.  

“I remain concerned that the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), which oversees EDI, has not shown an appropriate level of accountability or transparency regarding the EDI program and its ability to track and complete projects. It also needs to detail what obstacles EDI faces – separate from funding. We need to know what other supports these projects need,” continued Rivera.  

“As I said earlier this week, the ongoing projects were never at risk, but I understand that stakeholders needed a strong message of support for the EDI program. I look forward to continued engagement with community,” Rivera said. 

OPCD will be able to keep $51.4 million in unspent dollars from 2023, and also receive $25.3 million in 2024 funding. The department has said it will use the 2024 allocation to provide further support to existing EDI projects only. 

According to numbers provided by City Council Central Staff, over the past 5 years, the EDI program has spent an average of 25% of its total budget annually. If that trend continues, by 2026 the program will have over $90 million of unspent funds in its budget. If the program increased its spending to 50% annually, it would still have more than $50 million in unspent funds each year.  

“The intent is to provide accountability to this and all city departments. We need to provide good governance when managing public funds,” Rivera concluded.

EDI program carryforward and expenditure chart