SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced the proposed budget for 2023-2024 on Tuesday.
The budget totals approximately $7.4 billion, including $1.6 billion to the General Fund.
In his address, Harrell said the city faced a $140 million revenue gap. He cited inflation and economic instability as some of the causes.
Harrell said public safety, homelessness and a clean city are his top priorities.
The proposed budget includes recruiting bonuses for the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and a 50% increase in the recruiting efforts for the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) for 2023. The budget will also address staffing shortages and record overtime pay for SFD.
Harrell said that under the proposal, the park ranger program would be re-established. This would reduce the need for police officers to respond to calls at parks. Harrell also proposed SDOT parking enforcement officers return to SPD.
The budget will also put $2 million into programs to diversify 911 responses. Harrell said it isn't always the right move to send police officers to every call.
The budget would add $4.5 million in community-based solutions focused on safety and $1.5 million for the Regional Peacekeeper Collective, which is a public health approach to reducing gun violence. It’s part of a $47 million investment in the human services department to support safe communities.
Watch the full address here:
The budget would allocate $88 million to the King County Regional Homeless Authority, a 13% increase for the organization. The money would go towards outreach, homeless shelters and other programs.
The budget also includes $250 million for affordable housing, which would be the largest one-year investment in the city's history.
Harrell said it will create hundreds of units of permanently affordable housing to tackle homelessness “at the root.”
“Our administration refuses to be complacent on homelessness," Harrell said. "It is inhumane for people to live without sanitary conditions and running water.”
The proposal calls for more shelter beds and the creation of hundreds of more units, including tiny homes and safe lots. The city’s goal is to have 2,000 available units.
According to Harrell, nearly 100 parks and natural areas were closed by unauthorized encampments in 2021. Now, 93% or nearly 450 parks, are fully opened and accessible to the public. He credited a unified care team as a big part of the improvement.
The proposed budget would expand the work for the unified care team for trash and graffiti cleanup. The budget allocates $13 million for these efforts.
Harrell also pledged to make parks and play fields accessible to everyone.
In addition to the top priorities, the budget would allocate $250,000 to NW Abortion Access Fund to help access to reproductive care, $17 million to small business recovery and add additional victims’ advocates to support domestic violence victims.