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Latest projection paints grim outlook for Seattle city revenue in wake of COVID crisis

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. (Mayor Jenny Durkan, Twitter)

The latest report from Seattle’s Budget Office projects the city will likely see an even larger revenue shortfall in 2020 than it originally had projected, brought on in part by the COVID-19 crisis.

Facing COVID-19 shortfall, Mayor Durkan proposes series of cuts

Compared to its original 2020 adopted budget, Seattle is looking at a 19% revenue shortfall totaling $337 million.

In addition to COVID-related issues, the city’s budget is also dealing with emergencies like the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, as well as “the new discovery that Pier 58, or the Waterfront Park, may have deteriorated to the point of failure.”

“And we’re not even three quarters of the way through 2020,” Mayor Jenny Durkan pointed out in a news release.

Durkan had previously vetoed a proposal from city councilmembers that would have spent roughly 90% of the city’s reserves and rainy day funds on COVID-19 relief. The mayor defended that move Monday, claiming that the latest revenue forecast backs up her decision.

King County stares down $20 million budget shortfall

“Two weeks ago, I made the hard decision to veto the depletion of our City reserves because it was my belief that the City may need its emergency funds if our revenues continued to plunge. Unfortunately, today’s projections confirm that is the case,” she said.

Councilmembers have since vowed to overturn Durkan’s veto, citing the mayor’s approach as “irresponsible.” Council Budget Chair Teresa Mosqueda plans to reintroduce the proposal sometime in the near future.

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