Dear Neighbor,

This monthly update highlights the City’s budget work that concluded last week. As required by State law, Council adopted a balanced budget on Monday, November 21st. We passed a budget that put “People First” and made unprecedented investments in education for all children. We also made major investments in District 2 -- $6.5 M in Equitable Development Projects and an additional $3.125 M for transportation projects in District 2. In a city that is growing, I wanted to draw your attention to the following budget additions that ensure we have a safe and equitable city -- one that continually focuses on core city services and alleviating traffic problems. 

Added $1.5 Million to expand 13th Year Promise Scholarship (one year of free college tuition for high school seniors)

I sponsored a budget proposal to add $750,000 in both 2017 and 2018 to expand South Seattle College’s 13th Year Promise Scholarship program. The program guarantees all high school graduates a free year of college at South Seattle. It is offered at Rainier Beach, Cleveland, and Chief Sealth High Schools and the additional funds will add two more Seattle high schools to the program. With the additional $1.5 million, approximately 600 additional seniors will be served with 200-300 students enrolling in college.  Additionally, the program offers students a variety of workshops during their senior year to prepare for college enrollment and to improve math and English skills, if necessary. For the last four years, I have worked with South Seattle College to ensure that the 13th Year Promise Scholarship program established a strong foundation and was successful in achieving the tangible result of getting students into college. The cost of college and securing financial aid is the single greatest barrier to college attendance. The 13th Year Promise Scholarship began as a pilot at Cleveland High School in 2008 and as a parent on the Cleveland PTSA board, I have seen firsthand the effectiveness of the program. I believe the time is now for the City of Seattle to become a partner of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship program. I believe this is one of the greatest investments we can make in the future of our children and community. 

Added $6.5 Million for Equitable Development Projects in District 2

In September, our Council passed Resolution 31711 in support of six community-initiated projects for the Central Area, the Chinatown/International District and South Seattle, and identified next steps for implementation of those projects over the next twenty years.  Actions speak louder than words. As part of the budget next year, we authorized $6.5 million to implement projects in the Equitable Development Implementation Plan:

  1. Rainier Beach Food Innovation District - strategy to bring in high quality jobs coupled with education and training;
  2. Multicultural Community Center - provide a stable future for cultural anchors, providing support, reinforcement and cultural preservation for the immigrants and refugee communities in the area;
  3. Southeast Economic Opportunity Center - provide an education, training and services hub. $6 million dollars have already been secured through investments from governmental agencies and institutional partners;
  4. William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation - hub for entrepreneurial resources to support cultural preservation and innovation in the creative economy and provide pathways to the creative industries for those who are excluded; and
  5. Little Saigon Landmark Project - gathering place for the regional Vietnamese community in Little Saigon business district. The mixed-use Landmark Project will consist of a cultural center, Southeast Asian grocery, Emerald Night Market, and restaurant as its main components.

Added additional $3,150,000 to improve Transportation in South Seattle

  • $2 Million for Accessible Mount Baker: The Accessible Mt. Baker transportation project is one of the most critical projects to improving transportation for people traveling to or from Southeast Seattle. This project will implement safety and multimodal improvements identified in the Accessible Mt. Baker plan that has been developed by residents, businesses, community groups, and neighborhood greenways advocates. In this budget for 2017, we advanced $2 million of funding for the project. The acceleration of funding will allow the Accessible Mount Baker project to reach 30% design so it can better compete for federal grants. Total funding necessary for this project is estimated at $20-$24 million. As you may recall from last year, I introduced an amendment to the Move Seattle levy to triple the funding from the proposed $2M to $6 M for this project.
  • $1 Million to Continue Safety Work on Rainier Ave: In 2015, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) piloted a re-channelization on a one-mile stretch of Rainier Avenue South between Columbia City and Hillman City. While concerns were raised by residents both supporting and opposing the change, it ultimately achieved the most important goal of reducing both travel speed and frequency of collisions. SDOT is currently conducting a multimodal study of the Rainier corridor, with emphasis on transit performance and safety. This study will guide the Rainier Avenue South Road Safety Corridor Project moving forward and it will have a significant impact on the scope of work for subsequent phases of the Rainier Safety Corridor. The project’s next phase will implement safety improvements between Rainier Beach and Hillman City. The preliminary scope of that phase includes re-channelization, signal enhancements, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements, additional lighting and transit efficiency elements.
  • Added $150,000 for North Beacon Hill Safety Planning: Beacon Avenue cuts diagonally across the street grid through the heart of North Beacon Hill, creating dangerous intersections for people walking or biking. The $150,000 would fund a comprehensive traffic study and analysis and street-level designs for Beacon Avenue. That's a crucial first step towards a calmer, safer Beacon Avenue.

Added $1,073,000 for Pre-Filing Diversion to Eliminate the Incarceration of Youth

Racial disparities, inadequate support services, and increasing numbers of young people in the criminal justice system require that we do something different for the populations unique to Seattle Municipal Court. A pre-filing diversion program with family therapy, restorative justice, needs assessments, homelessness intervention, and supportive services are needed. The program is anticipated to divert 580 cases in 2017-2018, by diverting retail theft cases, Driving While License Suspended cases, and cases against young people ages 18-24 (with the exception of Driving Under the Influence, Domestic Violence Intimate Partner cases, and others as appropriate.)


Added $75,000 to Help Middle School Students

The funding will create an Executive Function Training Pilot Program within Seattle Public Schools to provide training to middle school students who are affected by executive function challenges, such as planning and setting goals, using organizational strategies, increasing time management and prioritization, initiating and staying on task, and increasing self-advocacy and self-esteem. The pilot program would operate in a train-the-trainer model, providing the knowledge and skills to counselors already present in the schools.


Added $192,000 in funding for more frequent garbage pickup and street cleaning in Chinatown-ID.


Added $100,000 in 2017 and $200,000 in 2018 to fund capital improvements at Danny Woo Park

The Danny Woo Park was built by the community and has lasted for 40 years. The park requires major capital investments to improve sustainability and public safety.


Added $75,000 in 2017 and $75,000 in 2018 to support a Chinatown-International District (CID) Public Safety Coordinator position in a community organization

The coordinator would act as a community liaison with the City, advocate for the community, help determine appropriate action for daily public safety/human service situations, and build trust between non/limited English speaking residents, small businesses, community organizations and the police.


$50,000 for King County Child Fatality Review Team

The King County Child Fatality Review Team, also known as the Child Death Review (CDR) team, is a program that works to reduce infant deaths. The CDR Team has long recognized that infants of color have been over represented in infant deaths. In fact, for the period 2008-2010, Black infants in King County died at twice the rate of Caucasian and Asians, and American Indian/Alaska Native babies died at four times the rate. Due to this disparity, and reflecting discussions and recommendations coming from CDR, Public Health’s Parent Child Health Program convened an expert workgroup and developed recommendations on reducing infant deaths. Unfortunately, Child Death Review has not been able to operate at full funding with budget challenges from the State. The proposed investment of $50K per year will complement the very limited State and county dollars to continue the program.


More Police Officers and the Return of the Community Service Officer Program

The city is growing rapidly and we need to continue hiring more officers. I hear from residents and businesses that we need more officers patrolling neighborhoods, talking with residents, and being more responsive to 911 calls. The budget includes hiring 102 officers in 2017 and 100 officers in 2018. With these additions, an estimated 152 net new officers will be on the streets by 2018 compared to 2014. As Public Safety chair from 2012-2015, I worked to initiate the hiring of 361 police officers. By the end of 2018, we are funding 1494 police officers, the highest ever for the police department. We are also making improvements to our 911 call center. Calls have increased by 13% since 2010 and are continually trending upwards. We are hiring an additional 40 staff for 911. Additional technology upgrades are also being made at the 911 call center to improve responsiveness. The City is hearing you loud and clear about adding more police and a better 911 call center. I believe the Seattle Police Department has come a long way in the last five years and will soon be a model of 21st Century Policing with a focus on community-based policing and exemplifying trust, collaboration, and transparency. As we continue to hire at a record pace, I stress to the department that we need to hire from our local community, where officers live and can better interact with nearby residents and businesses.

Council also added $2 million to restart the Community Service Officer (CSO) program

The CSO program was originally created in 1971. In 2017, we will go through a community stakeholders process to first identify the objective and function Community Service Officers should perform present-day, but the original CSO program allowed for the hiring of unsworn officers with distinctive uniforms that helped conduct crime prevention activities, improved community relations, connected vulnerable populations with services and provided an important link between the community and the police department.


Additional Funding to Homeless-Prevention, Rent Assistance, and Stability Services

Council added an additional $2.8 million to the proposed $157 million Human Services Department budget in 2017 to manage homeless prevention, public health, and drug diversion programs. The City will spend $56 million in 2017 for homeless services.


More Affordable Housing

The City continues to work diligently to add more affordable housing. Council added $29 million in bonds in the budget to fund more affordable housing. This is in addition to the 20,000 affordable units the City will build in the next ten years from four key elements: $290 million Housing Levy; Mandatory Housing Affordability policy requiring developers to either build or fund affordable housing; the Multifamily Tax Exemption program; and, additional funding sources through the federal Housing Tax Credit program and possible new state revenue for affordable housing.

I hope you were able to enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday with friends and family last week. With the Huskies in the Pac-12 Championship game this Friday, I would be remiss in not saying GO HUSKIES!

Bruce A. Harrell
President, Seattle City Council - District 2
Chair: Education, Equity, & Governance Committee
206-684-8804 | Office: 206-684-8804 | PO Box 34025 Seattle, WA 98124-4025

Copyright © 2016 Seattle City Council, All rights reserved.

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