A look at local impacts of Mayor McGinn’s proposed 2014 budget

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced his proposed 2014 budget on Sept. 23. None of it is set in stone until city council has a chance to evaluate, but the budget, coming in at $4.4 billion, has some highlights that should have specific impacts here in West Seattle.

Policing and public safety
- Continue crime prevention coordinator funding for Mark Solomon who works for West Seattle communities, setting up block watches among other duties ($63,663)
- Train additional officers on CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) to assist the Dept. of Neighborhoods evaluations and site visits
- Increase Southwest Precinct’s budget from $15 million in 2013 to $16.4 million in 2014. According to the budget, that will include one more full time employee (likely a patrol officer)
- $953,000 towards SPD’s School Zone Camera Program budget. SDOT installs and operates the cameras, but SPD will use the additional funds to hire a full time analyst of the program and two new police officers specifically for “timely citation processing” within a 14-day period. The city believes speeding ticket revenue of $8.6 million can be accrued in 2014, all of which will be reinvested into the camera program and other pedestrian safety improvements near schools. Included in those improvements: a new sidewalk on 35th Ave. S.W. between 100th and 104th in Arbor Heights http://www.westseattleherald.com/2013/09/17/news/35th-ave-sw-get-new-sid...
- Hire 15 new police officers, including two for school zone camera processing (as mentioned above) and “eight officers will enhance SPD’s 911 response capabilities in Seattle neighborhoods,” although the budget does not state how many officers are coming to the Southwest Precinct.

Increased funding for the Senior Center
McGinn’s budget calls for an additional $210,000 in additional funding to nine senior centers, including the West Seattle Senior Center, which provides low-cost social and health services to our area elders, including meals, transportation, day care services, case management and healthy aging programs.

Increased funding for the Neighborhood Matching Fund
Applies to West Seattle as long as passionate West Seattleites continue to apply, the city’s Neighborhood Matching Fund could receive an additional $500,000, brining funding back to prerecession levels. The matching fund allows community groups to obtain partial funding for neighborhood improvements, festivals, community gardens and more.

Help for Duwamish River communities
While this may not impact West Seattle-proper, neighboring communities of South Park and Georgetown may benefit from a proposed $250,000 to create a Duwamish River Opportunity Fund to “enhance existing programs and/or support new programs focused on addressing challenges faced by communities in the Duwamish River area.” The superfund cleanup of the river itself is already underway.

Better communication regarding major construction?
McGinn’s 2014 gameplan includes funding for the Dept. of Neighborhoods to hire a capital projects coordinator to assist other departments in community outreach on projects that impact West Seattle, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct destruction/SR 99 tunnel construction process.

Transportation and infrastructure
Of the $407 million budget proposed for Seattle’s Department of Transportation, there are a number of suggestions that could improve transit life in West Seattle.
- Improving access to downtown Seattle by installing 75 street sensors and 32 closed circuit TVs to monitor traffic patterns “so that SDOT can report incidents via social media (Twitter and Facebook primarily) and update their online traveler information map. Timing engineers will also use the cameras to adjust signals throughout the day. $1.6 million.
- $100,000 for traffic calming devices in neighborhoods (no specifics given)
- $1.45 million to build sidewalks at the following West Seattle locations: 35th Ave. S.W. between S.W. 104th St. and S.W. 106th St. (this will complete the new sidewalk from Roxbury to 106th), 21st Ave. S.W. between S.W. Dawson St. and 22nd Ave. S.W., and S.W. Barton St. and 24th Ave. S.W. “to improve access to a transit center and shopping at Westwood Village.”

This is just a taste of the overall proposed budget, which can be found online at http://www.seattle.gov/financedepartment/14proposedbudget/.

After the city council conducts public hearings on the budget and makes their changes, they usually adopt it by late November. A majority (at least five) is required for the budget to pass and, if it does, McGinn can veto or approve it.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.