Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell introduces $7.4 billion biennial budget

Sep 27, 2022, 3:45 PM
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell unveiled his 2023-2024 budget that plans to address homelessness, rising crime rates, and increased transportation infrastructure funding. (Seattle Channel)
(Seattle Channel)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell unveiled his 2023-2024 budget that plans to address homelessness, rising crime rates, and increased transportation infrastructure funding.

The mayor plans to make up the city’s $140 million revenue shortfall by using $294 million in funds raised by the JumpStart payroll tax.

Of the $1.6 billion in the budget’s general fund, $740 million focuses on improving public safety – a big focus of his campaign when he ran for mayor in 2020. The budget includes a $20 million increase in funding for the Seattle Police Department, most of which will re-establish the city’s traffic enforcement within SPD.

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Some of the proposed solutions to the city’s rising crime are the allocation of $47 million toward creating a third public-safety department and a human services department to support safe communities – expected to be launched in 2024. Along with this, millions of dollars will go towards addressing homelessness, building more affordable housing options, and adding $2.2 million to hire 30 more firefighters and two more paramedics.

“After two very long pandemic years, today we stand at a pivotal moment in our city’s history,” said Harrell. “I’m proud to say that we’re able to propose a budget that sustains the high-quality city services our residents expect, protects critical staffing, and makes smart funding decisions to address community priorities, including safety, homelessness, access to opportunity, and more.”

Additionally, Harrell mentioned smaller objectives like planting trees to combat climate change and keeping public bathrooms open around the city.

It also includes funding to support recruiting and retaining critical workers, including firefighters, police officers, park rangers, victims’ advocates, and childcare workers.

The city council will review the budget proposal over the next two months. Public hearings on the proposal will be held on Oct. 11, Nov. 8, and Nov. 15.

More details will be released on the mayor’s proposed budget on the City Budget Office’s website.

“I believe the best days in Seattle are in front of us,” Harrell said.

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Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell introduces $7.4 billion biennial budget