Budget deliberations have kicked into high gear here at City Hall. The first deadline for proposals to secure a baseline support of three councilmembers comes this Wednesday. After a couple more rounds of discussion over the next three weeks, the proposals that receive majority support will be put together in a balanced budget package.
Earlier I wrote about what I liked in the Mayor’s budget. Here are some additional proposals I’m excited to advance for further consideration by the Council:
- Many parking lots in private buildings across the City are underutilized at different points during the day; finding a way to maximize these resources in our neighborhoods makes good sense. Therefore I am putting forward funding for a study that would identify regulatory and incentive barriers to shared parking, develop design guidelines for new off-street parking that enables sharing, and advance the implementation of a district shared parking pilot in the Pike/Pine Urban Village.
- A request that the Department of Transportation study the concept of a Parking Benefit District and pilot one in the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict. A Parking Benefit District is where a portion of paid on-street parking revenue from a neighborhood goes back to that specific neighborhood to improve the sidewalk and street environment, including lighting, signage, improved sidewalks, landscaping, and other similar improvements.
- The expansion of funds for Career Bridge, a successful city-funded program that provides job skills for individuals reintegrating into society after a period of incarceration. While this program experienced some bumps in its initial implementation, the Urban League has since provided better structure and support to the program and its participants. The added funds would allow Career Bridge to expand participation to women and to 18- to 24-year-olds.
- Further City support for Seattle Made, a local initiative that encourages small manufacturing start-ups. One of the challenges for our city moving forward will be encouraging the creation of middle-wage jobs and this program steps into this need.
- A feasibility study for the creation of a program that would help immigrant and refugee professionals assess their skills, develop and navigate educational and credentialing pathways, develop social networks and access necessary supports like interview coaching, ESL instruction and transportation. There are currently similar programs housed at Edmonds Community College and Highline College.
- Legislative language that assigns the new Office of Planning and Community Development to develop planning strategies that support the School District’s public school facility needs for existing and estimated residential development. As the City Council’s representative on the Growth Management Planning Council of King County, I voted earlier this year for an amendment to the Countywide Planning Policies that requires local jurisdictions and school districts to conduct joint planning efforts.
Of course, many of my colleagues have also put forward worthy proposals. I have co-signed many of these relating to public safety, economic development, juvenile justice and human services.
We will likely not have enough funds to advance all of the Council’s Round 1 proposals. I look forward to a healthy discussion and the tough decisions ahead of us. You can stay engaged via the Council’s 2016 budget web page.