(Seattle, WA) Mayor Mike McGinn presented his 2011-2012 Proposed Budget for the City of Seattle at the Rainier Beach Community Center and in City Council Chambers. In his first budget address, McGinn outlined an $888 million General Fund budget for 2011, which is $13.7 million smaller than the 2010 adopted budget. The total proposed budget for 2011 is $3.9 billion.

(Seattle, WA) Mayor Mike McGinn presented his 2011-2012 Proposed Budget for the City of Seattle at the Rainier Beach Community Center and in City Council Chambers. In his first budget address, McGinn outlined an $888 million General Fund budget for 2011, which is $13.7 million smaller than the 2010 adopted budget. The total proposed budget for 2011 is $3.9 billion.

The City’s once healthy General Fund revenue streams have suffered from the turmoil of the longest and deepest recession to face this nation since the Great Depression. While still growing, the City’s revenues are no longer increasing enough to maintain existing services. Most of the one-time strategies used over the past two years to balance the budget, avoid significant reductions, and sustain services are now exhausted.  The result is a forecast $67 million shortfall in the City’s General Fund for 2011.

“Faced with the daunting challenge of closing a $67 million shortfall in the General Fund and addressing the financial realities in other City funds, I had to make difficult but necessary decisions. My goal was to develop a sustainable budget that doesn’t rely on general tax increases and preserves services as much as possible. I met that goal but it is not without consequences,” said McGinn.

The proposed budget is balanced on internal savings and efficiencies, including the savings in labor costs and administrative and management overhead costs, fee increases targeted toward the users of various services, and reductions to direct services. This will result in the layoff of City employees. The Proposed Budget eliminates 294 positions, or 2.67 percent of the City’s total work force. Of these positions, 214 are currently filled and will result in layoffs, effective January 4, 2011. Of these positions, 64 – or nearly 22 percent – are senior-level.

McGinn’s proposed budget minimizes direct service impacts on public safety and the human services safety net. Public Safety is the only operational program in the General Fund that is seeing expenditure increases in 2011. Police will have an all-time high of 585 sworn officers assigned to patrol in 2011, up from the current record-high of 555 officers. And Fire will maintain its current firefighting strength of 990 active personnel.

Programs serving children and youth and providing employment opportunities were preserved as much as possible. The budget preserves existing programs supporting McGinn’s major initiatives, including the Youth & Families Initiative; the Jobs Initiative; Walk, Bike, Ride; and Sustainable Communities.

To generate more revenue, governments also propose increases in parking meter hours and rates, and in a variety of other fees to better align them with actual costs. For example, the Library will increase its daily fine rate, Police will increase the fee charged to alarm companies that ask police to respond to false alarms, Seattle Municipal Court will increase a number of its administrative fees, and Parks will increase a number of its fees.

Separate from the General Fund, the proposed budget includes increases in rates for Seattle City Light and the Solid Waste and Drainage and Wastewater utilities.

Some other changes proposed include the limited use or cuts of community center, wading pools, neighborhood service centers, and public library

“Looking ahead, I’m confident this budget puts us on a sustainable path. We are committed to using the resources we have to build for the future,” McGinn said.

The 2011-2012 Proposed Budget is also available online at: http://www.seattle.gov/financedepartment/

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