Today, Mayor Jenny Durkan is releasing her 2020 Proposed Budget. In the second year of the two-year budget biennium, this budget maintains core services while at the same time increasing investments in priorities like public safety, affordable housing, homelessness, transit and transportation safety, and opportunity and jobs for Seattle’s young people. Under the Mayor’s leadership, OPCD will continue to pursue our mission to lead collaborative planning, advance equitable development, and create great places.
We are pleased to announce that the Mayor is proposing to expand support for OPCD’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI). As you may know, EDI provides funding to community-based organizations that initiate, develop and operate programs that support racial and social justice and respond to displacement pressures. When first launched in 2016, EDI was initially funded with $16 million from proceeds of the sale of surplus City property. Beginning 2019, EDI has a dedicated ongoing funding source of $5 million annually from Short-Term Rental Tax revenues (sometimes referred to as the AirBnB tax), as well as $430,000 in federal funding.
With the successful sale of the City-owned Mercer Megablock properties in South Lake Union, Mayor Durkan is proposing to dedicate an additional $15 million to a new EDI Site Acquisition Revolving Loan program to support our community partners’ anti-displacement work. Often these community-based organizations have creative ideas on how to combat residential, commercial, and cultural displacement, but lack the funds to acquire the land they need to realize their vision. This new loan program will help fill some of that need.
We are also looking ahead to crafting Seattle’s next Comprehensive Plan, our vision for how to shape the city’s growth in housing and jobs. The Mayor is proposing an additional $650,000 for community engagement and an environmental study of our evolving growth plan, including a fresh look at how new Sound Transit system expansion will help shape the future of Seattle. The next Comprehensive Plan, mandated by the state’s Growth Management Act, will require a multi-year public process and extensive review process. We must complete the new plan in 2023.
Finally, OPCD’s station-area planning efforts around the new Sound Transit light rail stations —one of the largest public works projects in Seattle’s history— will begin to move forward in earnest. The Mayor’s budget proposes additional resources to launch extensive community engagement and planning that will extend to neighborhoods across the city. This transformative work will be a collaboration between the City and residents who live and work near future light rail stations. Consistent with the City’s commitment to racial equity and social justice, there will be a focused effort to partner with communities of color and other underserved populations to ensure that the project and related efforts and investments help to create a more equitable city for all. Working together, we can develop a vision to meet our climate goals, create vibrant transit-oriented communities, and provide more housing choices close to light rail.
More information about details in the full budget can be found at www.seattle.gov/budget, and you can also direct any questions to email@example.com.
Over the next two months, the City Council will review the Mayor’s the proposed budget. Final adoption of the budget is expected on Monday, Nov. 25.
Sam Assefa, Director