Mayor Nickels made big promises of behalf of the city government while proposing his 2008 budget to Seattle City Council on Monday, saying that it would "create a more open and responsive government and... leave Seattle and our planet a better place to live for our children." The public, however, will have to wait and see if the numbers match the rhetoric; the complete budget isn't released until sometime next week.
Seattle has a biennial budgeting process, and 2008 is an off year. This means that the mayor is not presenting an entirely new budget, but rather amending the one that City Council endorsed when it formally adopted the 2007 budget. These amendments are based on issues that arose in the past year, as well as on discrepancies between the projected and actual 2007 governmental revenue.
It appears that the biggest winner in the mayor's proposal is public safety. Nickels announced an increase of over $15 million in funding, outlining plans to place 20 more patrol offices on the streets, spend an additional $600,000 for downtown enforcement, and continue the "Emphasis Patrol Program," which deploys officers on short notice to clean up crime "hot spots," such as the one identified at the intersection of Third Ave. and Pine St. this August.
Now that the budget has been presented, the council will begin its review process that includes presentations from departments in defense of their allocated funding, public hearings on Oct. 10 and 30, and a final adoption of the budget scheduled for Nov. 19 and 26.