Economy

The Seattle City Council wild hold three public hearings on city budget issues to give residents the opportunity to share opinions and offer input for the council’s 2010 budget process.

According to a release from Jean Godden, chair of the council's Finance and Budget Committee, the public is encouraged to let their voices be heard, particularly during a time when the city is facing a $72 million budget shortfall.

Public Hearings are scheduled for:

Wednesday, Oct. 7 - Whitman Middle School, 9201 15th Ave. N.W., 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct 14 - Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 26 - Seattle City Hall Council Chambers, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, 5:30 p.m.

Sign-up to speak starting at 5 p.m. The public hearings will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. More information on the budget can be found at www.seattle.gov/council.

09/24/2009

The Seattle City Council wild hold three public hearings on city budget issues, including one in Ballard, to give residents the opportunity to share opinions and offer input for the council’s 2010 budget process.

According to a release from Jean Godden, chair of the council's Finance and Budget Committee, the public is encouraged to let their voices be heard, particularly during a time when the city is facing a $72 million budget shortfall.

Public Hearings are scheduled for:

Wednesday, Oct. 7 - Whitman Middle School, 9201 15th Ave. N.W., 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct 14 - Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 26 - Seattle City Hall Council Chambers, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, 5:30 p.m.

Sign-up to speak starting at 5 p.m. The public hearings will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. More information on the budget can be found at www.seattle.gov/council.

09/24/2009
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Mayor Greg Nickels said that the city of Seattle will receive $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to enhance the city’s fleet of green vehicles and install electric car charging stations throughout the city.

The funding is part of a $15 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act awarded to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s Clean Cities Coalition. The grant is specifically for alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

Seattle will receive:

- Fifteen diesel/electric work trucks, which will save more than 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and reduce carbon emissions by more than 112 tons annually. This will also help the manufacturer ramp-up production and drive down the price of hybrid systems in the mass market.

- $500,000 for installation of electric vehicle charging stations at city-owned properties.

08/29/2009

Dear Editor,

Well, it’s time to start saving money. First, there’s the trees you ordered for the parking strip that Mayor Greg Nickels thought we should have. Should be watered by property owners.

The city could reduce the water bill a little for that. Instead, we have two men and a big water tank to do this. What is it costing the taxpayers for this? Two men’s pay, gas, wear and tear on the trucks …?

I like the new idea about the parks closing some and the town that have chosen to be cities of their own should care for the parks. That will cut all these taxes that Seattle taxpayers have to shoulder. It will bring their town people closer if they keep up their own parks.

Give some of the parks back to the wild and the poor animals will get back to the woods. Where would you go to eat if someone took all your berries, trees, bushes, living places? You would go to find food and a new place.

So, please don’t blame our wild life. They were here before any of our houses!

Kathleen Vogel
Delridge Way

08/24/2009

As the national recession continues, a new economic forecast for the city of Seattle projects a $72 million revenue shortfall in its 2009-2010 biennial budget. 

The city has built up a $30.6 million rainy day fund, but will still need to identify at least $42 million in further cuts for 2010, according to the mayor's office.

Mayor Greg Nickels will propose adjustments to the city’s 2010 budget next month, but said today that he will address the revenue shortfall without impacting direct human services and public safety programs.

“I will deliver a budget for 2010 that continues to protect funding for direct human services and public safety, and in this historic economic downturn, it is significant that we are able to preserve our core services—the result of years of careful budgeting and work with the city council,” said Nickels in a statement. “There are more difficult decisions ahead, but Seattle is in a better position because we have kept strong fiscal discipline and built up a substantial rainy day fund.”

08/20/2009

King County Executive Kurt Triplett said he will give away 39 parks, worth about $57 million dollars, in order to help close a $56 million budget shortfall next year.

Two of the parks on the list include the 5.6- acre White Center Heights Park (Southwest 102nd and 7th Avenue Southwest) and the 9.4- acre White Center Pond Natural Area (102nd Southwest and 12th Avenue Southwest).

The parks would close Jan. 1

The county is targeting school districts, cities other public or private agencies as likely to take over the parks, of which several lie in unincorporated areas of King County. Triplett said the county is "out of money."

The land must remain park land. Triplett said if takers are not found, maintenance would be severely reduced for those 39 parks, and fences put up around playgrounds and parking lots.

Thirteen jobs would be lost by closing the parks, and it's expected to save the county $4.6 million, said Triplett.

08/18/2009
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Photo credit: 
Google

White Center Heights Park and White Center Natural Pond Are ( "A" on the map) are on the list of 39 King County Parks that could close to help close a $56 million budget shortfall.

Dear Editor,

When Wall Street collapsed, taxpayers were told we had to support a $700 billion bailout for the crooks that caused the collapse in the first place. Now middle class American working families need our broken health care system fixed.

Millions of us are struggling to pay health care costs and make ends meet. But wait – some in Congress are saying we “can’t afford” health care reform. That does not make sense to me – in fact, I find their argument downright insulting. Help the fat cats and cronies out, but give the finger (and nothing else) to the American people.

Nine years ago I donated a kidney to keep my beloved husband alive. Thank goodness he is doing well. We have medical insurance through my employer, but it would vanish should I lose my job.

Many people are not aware that kidney transplants and dialysis costs are covered by Medicare, no matter your age, race, income, etc. But costs for the immune suppressing drugs needed to keep the patient from rejecting the organ are not. In our case, if we had to pay the $2,000-plus per month prescription costs, it would have bankrupted us.

08/17/2009

With an increase in demand as high as 35 percent this year and a sharp drop in donations of baby food and formula, food banks across the city are desperate for donations. Solid Ground is hoping a three-day initiative starting Aug. 19 by local junk removal company 1-800 RID-OF-IT Junk Removal will help the troubling situation.  

Trish Twomey, Hunger Action Center Manager for Solid Ground, said there is always an increased demand for food items in the summer because school is out and children no longer have access to breakfast or lunch programs.  However, this summer the situation is markedly worse, she said.

“Families in our community are hungry, and the food banks are not able to cope with the increasing need,” said Twomey.  “Working families are faced with tough decisions and choices, and they are turning to food banks to cover some of their food costs.  This food drive is a great way to help families feed their kids.” 

Food and monetary donations are significantly lower this year, while demand is up on average 35 percent across Seattle, according to Solid Ground.  Stocks of formula and baby food are also down significantly.   

08/07/2009
Includes tax relief for small businesses, youth employment, senior nutrition programs

On July 16, the Seattle City Council’s Finance and Budget committee voted to support small business, workforce development and senior programs and unanimously passed three pieces of legislation to boost the economy.

The following was approved by the committee and will be taken up by the Full Council July 20 at 2 p.m.

●  Raising the B&O Tax exemption to $100,000 from $80,000, providing relief to small businesses.

●  Accepting Federal Stimulus grant money (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) to fund summer youth employment and senior nutritional services.

“This is another step forward in fulfilling our Economic Recovery goals by providing relief and jobs for our citizens” said council president Richard Conlin.

“While I’m concerned about declining revenues, I’m committed to supporting small businesses wherever we can,” said council member Jean Godden, chair of the Finance and Budget Committee.  “Their success is crucial to the success of our city and local economy.”

07/16/2009

The King County Council has cut positions in its own staff and those in its executive-branch agencies and froze hiring for non-essential county services to help preserve most of the critical human services “lifeboat” programs in the 2009 King County budget.

This budget amendment, sponsored by council members Bob Ferguson, Dow Constantine, and Larry Gossett, enables the county to fund $1.5 million in lifeboat programs without spending any of the reserves set aside to help close the anticipated shortfall in the 2010 budget.

“With sales tax collections in decline and the prospect of more hard times ahead, we must take immediate, decisive action to protect critical public services,” said Council Chair Dow Constantine, a co-sponsor of the plan. “Last year’s budget used the ‘lifeboat’ concept—granting only partial-year funding to some programs to encourage the state Legislature to approve new revenue sources. The Legislature didn’t provide any new funding, so this proposal shifts existing revenues to maintain key human services programs.”

07/14/2009
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