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Dear Neighbor,

Next week the Mayor will transmit the budget to Council and we will begin the City Council’s deliberations on the 2022 City budget. I am writing today to share background on the Council’s budget process, how you can make your voice heard, and the priorities I will be advocating for. 

This year, the budget process will formally kick off on Monday, September 27th with the presentation of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, and concludes on Monday, November 22nd with the final City Council vote on the budget. In between, we will meet to discuss amendments, hear from members of the public, and advocate for our budget priorities. 

I have many budget priorities this year, and three themes that will focus my work are increasing funding for public safety and mental health responses, addressing homelessness at the scale of the crisis, and creating vibrant public spaces throughout District 6. 

As I have all year, I will continue meeting with District 6 residents and stakeholders to ensure that my budget work reflects your priorities as a district, and that we build a budget that works for you. If you would like to meet with me directly, please sign up here.


The 2022 Budget Process

Each fall the City Council dedicates two months of the year to focus entirely on crafting the following year's City Budget. The process begins next week when the Mayor delivers her Proposed Budget to the City Council. The Mayor’s Proposed Budget is a fully baked, balanced budget, which means that any additional funding that I advocate for must be offset either by cuts to other programs or new revenue. The Mayor typically develops her Proposed Budget throughout the summer and September. 

Following delivery of the Proposed Budget, the Budget Committee meets for three days to receive briefings from the City Budget Office and other departments on their proposed spending plans. The Budget Committee then meets for another three days for “issue identification” to discuss potential budget issues identified by Councilmembers or our staff analysts. 

After these departmental briefings and issue identification, Councilmembers have the opportunity to propose amendments to the Proposed Budget based on their priorities and the input we receive from community members. The Budget Committee then meets to discuss all of the amendments proposed. 

Once amendments and changes are considered, the process moves to the Chair of the Budget Committee, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. The Budget Chair will propose her own Balancing Package, incorporating amendments proposed by Councilmembers. The Chair’s Balancing Package must be balanced, meaning expenditures are equal to revenue, and the package becomes the new starting point for continued deliberations. 

Councilmembers then have a final opportunity to propose amendments to the Chair’s Balancing Package. The Budget Committee will meet for two days to vote on these amendments, making final changes to the budget. 

Finally, on Monday, November 22nd, the Budget Committee meets in the morning to make any final technical adjustments and send the amended Balancing Package to the full City Council. In the afternoon, the City Council votes to approve the final 2022 budget, known as the 2022 Adopted Budget. 

A full budget schedule can be found below. It can also be viewed as a PDF here. 

More information can be found on the Select Budget Committee webpage.

Staying Engaged with the Budget Process

There are opportunities for public input at every step of the Council’s budget process so that we can be sure we are building a budget that works for you. Every meeting of the Budget Committee or City Council will include a public comment period. Additionally, three public hearings are held throughout the process, with two happening in the evening. This year, the first public hearing is on Tuesday, October 12th, at 5:30pm, for community members to provide input prior to issue identification. The second public hearing is on Wednesday, November 10th, at 5:30 p.m., to provide input prior to the Chair’s Balancing Package. The final public hearing will occur on Thursday, November 18th, starting at 9:30 a.m., before the Budget Committee votes on final amendments. Learn more about providing public comment here. 

In addition to public comment and public hearings, I meet with community members and stakeholders regularly, throughout the year and during the budget process, to inform my priorities and decision making. You can always share your budget priorities with me by emailing, or by requesting a D6 resident meeting

You can also stay up to date with Budget Committee meetings and materials by signing up to receive committee agendas in your inbox. 

My Budget Priorities

Based on conversations with neighbors and community members here are my top three broad priorities that I will have this fall. I look forward to updating you on the specific amendments I will bring. If you have an idea you think we should fund, please sign up for a D6 meeting

Public Safety and Crisis Response: Public safety continues to be a top priority for me. There are many programs we will fund to increase public safety. This year I will build on my work in 2020, securing funding for the Mobile Crisis Team and Health One who respond to individuals in crisis and low-acuity calls. These teams are best able to provide meaningful resolution to crisis calls, allowing other first-responders to focus on their core functions.

Addressing Homelessness: We must fund solutions to homelessness that meet the scale of the crisis before us. This means funding emergency housing and shelter, permanent supportive housing units, hotel rooms to move people off the streets, and outreach teams to help people experiencing homelessness connect to services and find housing. I will be focusing on investments to have an immediate impact - one example is our new practice of buying existing hotels and housing that can come online immediately, rather than waiting years for construction. Another example is funding rental assistance that makes landlords whole and keeps tenants in their home without incurring debt.

Creating Vibrant Public Spaces: As we look forward to the day we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can support Seattle’s recovery by reactivating and restoring parks and public spaces throughout the city. I hope to secure funding for graffiti removal and prevention, to support a path to permanency for café streets and outdoor dining, to reopen West Green Lake Way North with a two-way protected bike lane, fund a new Green Lake Boathouse, and to activate public spaces like the Leary Triangle.

There is also a long list of more specific budget amendments that I will be advocating for, including fully funding the Green Lake Community Center project, strengthening tree protection and enforcement, restoring murals and public art, and so much more. I will share more about these priorities in the coming weeks, and will add to them as I hear from you. 

2021 Budget Summary

The 2021 Adopted Budget is the baseline for much of the 2022 budget deliberations. Last year, the crisis of COVID-19 prompted the City to engage in two budget processes, first to re-balance the 2020 Budget in response to declining City revenues, and then to adopt the budget for 2021. 

In the face of COVID-19 related budget shortfalls and uncertainly, the City Council adopted a 2021 Budget that set aside an unprecedented amount of funding to address homelessness, including $44 million to increase new shelter and housing capacity, made historic investments in BIPOC communities, secured funding to combat COVID-19, provided relief to small businesses, and funded new approaches to public safety. Despite revenue challenges facing local governments around the world, proceeds from JumpStart allowed Seattle to avoid austerity budgeting and make needed investments in our community. 

I was proud to successfully pass multiple amendments to the 2021 budget, including funding for homelessness, public safety, tree protection, and climate change. I secured a $1 million investment in the Mobile Crisis Team, which is comprised of mental health and substance abuse professionals who respond to individuals in crisis. This funding prevented layoffs and instead expanded the team’s capacity to meet Seattle's needs.

To address food security, I increased funding to the Fresh Bucks voucher program to enroll every household on the waitlist, and required City departments to identify ways to better support our neighborhood farmers markets. I also secured funding to prevent a delay in hiring the City’s Climate advisor, and started the process of expanding the Tree Ambassador program. Finally, I restored a position to assist property owners and tenants in navigating landlord/tenant laws. 

You can learn more about the 2021 Budget here. 

I am excited for the 2022 City Budget process to begin and I look forward to hearing from you about what you believe needs to be funded in next year's budget.

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If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, I encourage you to sign-up for my newsletter! Every two weeks I send out a newsletter about the happenings in our district, updates from City Hall, and progress reports on the work we are doing to make life better for all of us in Seattle.

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District Office Hours

Every week I meet with D6 residents to hear about issues impacting you daily. I love talking directly to D6ers, it is often the best part of my week. If you would like to meet with me, please fill out this form. To protect public health, these meetings are currently held over the phone or video. 

Videos on My Website

Every Monday morning, I update the City Council on issues in District 6 and the work my office is doing that week. These updates are a helpful way to follow along with our work. I also post these videos weekly on my website and social media. You can view the latest updates and past videos on my website here.
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