City and Fire Fighters Union Local 27 reach four-year settlement

Mayor Ed Murray announced today that the rank and file of the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27, covering 956 firefighters have approved a four-year contract settlement that will expire on December 31, 2018.

The contract will begin retroactively, on January 1, 2015 and includes annual wage increases of 2.2 percent and 1.1 percent retroactively for 2015 and 2016, 3.5 percent for 2017 and 100 percent of the Seattle CPI-W for 2018.

“I want to thank all Seattle firefighters for their commitment to public service and keeping us safe every single day,” said Murray. “Today’s agreement will help us continue to have one of the most well-trained and dedicated fire departments in the country. It also reflects my personal commitment to support the health, wellness and fitness of Seattle firefighters. I would like to acknowledge President Kenny Stuart for his excellent leadership and commitment to Seattle firefighters. It’s through his efforts in negotiating this agreement that we were able to recognize the hard work of the men and women of the Seattle Fire Department.”

The settlement establishes the Seattle Firefighters Health Care Clinic that will benefit firefighters, the department and the community through proactive medical management, injury and disease prevention, and injury rehabilitation.  In addition, the contract will include pay increases to certain specialty assignments, an increase in longevity pay and a limited number of hours for 5-person staffing for new recruits on ladder trucks.

“Through a productive and collaborative process we were able to negotiate an agreement that is fair to firefighters and will enhance service to the community,” said Local 27 President Kenny Stuart. “Seattle Fire Fighters want to thank Mayor Murray and Chief Scoggins for their willingness to recognize the work performed by fire fighters and paramedics as well as the level of commitment of paramedic students. I also want to thank them for increasing resources for the Medic One program and the SFD Dive Team. These enhancements will improve the department’s ability to save lives. I also want to recognize the City for helping to establish the Seattle Firefighters Health Clinic. This clinic will not only reduce injuries and illnesses to save taxpayer money, but it will also reduce firefighter deaths.”

Mayor launches innovative Navigation Center for unsheltered homeless

Executive Order pursues replicating a new low-barrier comprehensive service center based on proven San Francisco model

Mayor Edward Murray took action through Executive Order today directing the creation of a low-barrier, one-stop service center for individuals without shelter to receive the customized support they need to move from the streets back into permanent homes.

“Our strategy for helping people without shelter has to be broader than designating another site in the city to pitch a tent,” said Murray.

The service center will be modeled on the San Francisco Navigation Center, the first of its kind, dormitory-style living facility that provides people living outside with shower, bathroom, laundry and dining facilities, a place to store their belongings, as well as round-the-clock case management, mental and behavioral health services, and connections to benefit programs and housing, all in one location. This facility will prioritize placement for individuals who are currently unsheltered and offer them a secure place to stay and access additional supports in a 24/7 program.

The San Francisco Navigation Center prioritizes serving people from geographic areas with extraordinary public health and public safety challenges, places like Seattle’s I-5 East Duwamish Greenbelt. One of the reasons it is effective is because the model enables organic groups or communities that have formed in specific geographic areas to stay together and transition to the Navigation Center.

Murray visited with people living under I-5 yesterday. Pictures can be found here.

The center will be particularly suited to people with partners, pets or possessions who choose to stay in encampments rather than shelters, where partners, pets or possessions are not typically allowed. It will serve up to 75 people at a time.

The center will be funded in part by $600,000 secured by the City in the state capital budget in the 2016 legislative session. The City is matching this state appropriation with a private donation of $600,000 earmarked for homelessness services, and will establish a designated fund to collect additional private donations to support the center.

In March of this year, Murray visited the San Francisco Navigation Center with City Councilmember Tim Burgess and staff from the City of Seattle, King County, and All Home King County to learn about this emerging practice and how the model might be replicated in Seattle. This visit was followed by a second delegation that included Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.

“Every single person living in an encampment has their own story, their own dignity and their own set of reasons for how they got where they are,” said Murray. “These reasons are often incredibly complicated and incredibly difficult, and we have to address these reasons at a very personal level in order to make a meaningful difference. This kind of comprehensive, person-centered approach has been used successfully in San Francisco to help people move from the streets back into permanent homes. We want to duplicate that success here.”

Murray’s Executive Order establishes a public-private partnership workgroup convened by Department of Human Services Director Catherine Lester to develop a proposal for and help implement a replication of the San Francisco model in Seattle. This workgroup will include representatives from All Home, philanthropy and nonprofit partners with expertise in delivering effective housing and services to individuals who are homeless.

This workgroup will also coordinate closely with King County and other regional partners to provide technical assistance or coordination should other jurisdictions be interested in replicating San Francisco’s model in their respective jurisdictions to address the regional problem of homelessness. The workgroup will deliver its proposal to the Mayor within 60 days and the Human Services Department will then issue a request for proposal 30 days later, with a goal of successfully launching the service center by December 31, 2016.

Murray said the people-centered model of supporting those living outside should be reflected in our citywide conversation, as well.

“We talk a lot about the homeless in aggregate,” said Murray. “What we too often do not discuss are individuals, the thousands of our fellow human beings living among us a without a roof over their head or many of their most basic needs being met. Their situations are unlikely to improve if – rather than seeing them as they are, as individuals – all we see is an abstract concept called homelessness. We can only make progress one person at a time.”

By the numbers:

  • On any given night in Seattle, 2,942 individuals are living unsheltered in our community as of the 2016 One Night Count.
  • The Human Services Department is spending nearly $50 million this year to assist single adults, youth, young adults, and families, survivors of domestic violence, older adults and veterans who are currently or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • This includes $7.3 million in one-time funds dedicated through the State of Emergency declared by Mayor Murray in November 2015, which funds 242 additional shelter beds; addresses encampments with outreach, cleanups, storage, referrals to chemical dependency and mental health beds; and sets aside shelter beds.

Murray sends funding plan for additional police officers to City Council

This week Mayor Ed Murray sent the Seattle City Council his proposed funding plan to finance the hiring of 200 new police officers and investments in the City’s 911 call center as outlined in his 2016 State of the City address.

“This is a balanced proposal that ensures that the Seattle Police Department will have sufficient staffing to meet the public safety needs of our growing city,” said Murray. “Residents, businesses, and experts agree that we must increase investments in our police department, hire additional officers, and enhance community engagement. I look forward to working with Council to finalize this plan and to continuing our shared commitment to protect the people and property of Seattle. ”

The proposal calls for an addition of 200 officers by the end of 2019, expanding the Seattle Police Department to the highest staff level in the history of the department. This level of expansion is in line with the police staffing study conducted by Berkshire Advisors.

“The Neighborhood Safety Alliance endorses the mayor’s proposed addition of more officers as starting point for meeting the City’s current and growing public safety needs,” said Cindy Pierce, President of the Neighborhood Safety Alliance. “This proposal is the best mechanism remaining to fund urgently needed expansion of the police force to match Seattle’s vigorous population growth and to bring our staffing levels closer to the norms of big cities in the U.S.”

The expansion of the Seattle Police Department will be financed through reprioritizing existing resources, identifying efficiencies and by increasing selected fees and taxes on Seattle businesses.

“The Ballard Chamber of Commerce supports Mayor Murray’s proposal to add 200 new police officers to the Seattle Police force,” said Mike Stewart, Executive Director of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce.  “We look forward to engaging with the Seattle City Council on this important step forward.”

“Our businesses have been advocating for additional officers for many years,”says Leslie Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square. “The need for the police force to be staffed adequately given the growth in our city is felt acutely in both the Downtown and greater Seattle.”

The cost of the 200 additional officers, improving the 911 call center and other information technology investments will cost $37 million per year. Murray is proposing to raise $14 million in new revenues and fund the remaining $23 million (nearly two-thirds of the necessary funding) from existing resources. Roughly half of the General Fund resources has already been approved by Council for hiring additional police officers.

The proposed increases in taxes and fees on Seattle businesses are:

  • 2 percent increase over two years in the existing Business and Occupation (B&O) tax rates, which have not risen since 1991, generating $8.4 million per year. A retail business with $1 million in revenues would pay an additional $70 a year.
  • Restructuring and increasing the City’s Business License fee, with fees increasing in five steps depending on the size of the business, generating $5.8 million per year. The smallest businesses would see a license fee increase of $25 a year.

Incoming calls to SPD’s 911 call center call have placed a growing strain on the current system. Call center volumes have increased by 13 percent since 2010. The call center will be adding staff and making technology investments to handle the growing number of calls for service. Other technology investments at the department include technology infrastructure to support body worn cameras for officers and a new time tracking tool to help manage officer overtime.

Mayor proposes gunshot detection pilot program

Mayor Ed Murray has heard from communities that the City must take new actions to improve response to shots fired in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence, including the Central District and Rainier Valley.

Today, on Gun Violence Awareness Day, the mayor is launching a process to bring an acoustic gunshot detection pilot program to the City of Seattle. The mayor will also work with the Seattle City Council to require that all surplus firearms from the Seattle Police Department are only sold to other law enforcement agencies.

“While Seattle remains a very safe city, we owe it to our young people to explore all technology tools that can save a life or take a gun off the streets,” said Mayor Murray. “We have seen gunshot locators work effectively in other cities. We will work with our neighborhoods to gauge their interest in participating in the pilot project, as we protect the privacy of all residents.”

Gunshot locators actively listen for gunshots and detect the exact location where guns are fired. Unlike reports from nearby residents who may be uncertain, these systems’ advanced technology reliably report when and where the shots were fired. A video camera attached to the system is activated to capture the incident. Law enforcement authorities are notified immediately and a police officer can be dispatched to the vicinity without delay.

The mayor will send the City Council legislation required to implement a pilot project.

“At almost every community meeting where I have discussed installing an acoustic gunshot locator system, I have received overwhelming positive feedback,” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “I want to make it crystal clear we will work thoroughly with privacy advocates on the operational and data management protocols to ensure the public’s privacy and civil liberties are protected.”

“My constituents city-wide have expressed concern over safety, as well as an interest in innovations intended to keep communities safe,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González, Chair of the Safe Communities committee.  “Given the increased trends in shots fired, gun violence injuries and gun-related deaths in Seattle, I stand firmly behind initiatives to reduce senseless violence. I look forward to working with Mayor Murray on his efforts to increase our City’s security.”

Last year, community members, including the United Clergy and the Urban League, urged the city to consider technology solutions that may help Seattle Police Department respond to shots fired and identify persons of interest.

“We know that gunshot detection systems have helped reduce gun violence in other cities,” said Rev. Harriett Walden, founder, Mothers for Police Accountability. “It’s time that we give this technology a try in Seattle. We owe it to our children to take every step possible to keep them safe.”

Community feedback will be critical to designing the system, deciding where it is deployed, and defining how it functions. Working with the community, the City will to use its race and social justice toolkit during the assessment of the pilot program. The City will engage with civil liberties advocates and ensure that it complies with the City’s existing privacy policy.

“I know from experience that technology, when paired with prevention, intervention and enforcement strategies, can effectively support public safety efforts,” said Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “An automated gunshot detection pilot program can help our officers and detectives working to reduce gun violence in our city by improving shots fired response times and identifying shooters.”

Since the beginning of the year, 144 incidents of shots fired have been reported in Seattle. Five people have been killed and another 24 have been injured. Of the 69 people who have been assaulted by someone with a firearm, more than half of all victims are under the age of 30 and are African American.

During that same period in 2015, 154 incidents of shots fired were reported, resulting in two deaths and 27 injuries.

This year, concentrated areas of shots reported include the Rainier Valley, the Central District and in South Park.  Shots are most frequently reported in the evening hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

For the first three months of this year, Seattle police have seized 438 guns, an increase of 77 in the first 5 months of 2015.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has issued a Request for Proposals to gather interest from potential contractors who could construct the system. If deployed, the system would be paid for with a federal grant.

Similar systems are deployed in at least 67 other cities across the nation. Law enforcement agencies report instant notification of gunfire, high accuracy of reported locations, and reduced police response times.

The mayor will also send legislation to Council that requires surplus Seattle Police Department firearms can only be sold to another law enforcement agency. Under existing City policy, when a Seattle police officer turns in a service weapon, it cannot be resold to in the State of Washington.

“Speaking as a mother and as a proud Grandmother Against Gun Violence I believe we all must do everything in our power–politically and personally — to create safer communities, which means championing safe gun ownership,” said Councilmember Bagshaw. “Mayor Murray and I have worked tirelessly to leverage our purchasing power to push for the most responsible firearm policies being practiced via the firearm resolution.”

“Yet again, Washington State and Seattle are on the cutting edge of common sense, just and visionary social policy,” said Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. “The prioritizing of citizen safety and freedom from fear over the influence and financial inducements of the gun industry and their lobby reflects more than good governance—it is a fulfillment of the ultimate promise of righteous leadership to its deserving constituency.”

The resolution will also require that the City of Seattle only purchases firearms and ammunition from dealers that take steps to reduce gun violence and are fully compliant with all federal and state laws, including background checks for all buyers.

Seattle selected to join 100 Resilient Cities Network

Mayor Ed Murray welcomed Seattle’s selection into a global network of cities building urban resilience as part of the 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC). Through the partnership, Seattle will soon hire its first-ever Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), to lead the city’s efforts to build a citywide Resilience Strategy – with support from 100RC on its creation and implementation.

Selection for the 100RC Network was highly competitive. Seattle was one of only 37 cities chosen from more than 325 applicants on the basis of their willingness, ability, and need to prepare for future challenges.

“We are honored to be selected to join this important network of cities from across the globe and we look forward to partnering with 100 Resilient Cities to develop creative solutions to some of our biggest challenges including natural disasters, climate change, and inequity,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This funding, partnership, and global network will help us address the disproportionate risks for Seattle’s communities of color and residents with lower incomes, a key action of our Equity & Environmental Initiative.”

With the number of people living in urban areas rapidly increasing, the 100RC Network was established by The Rockefeller Foundation to help cities prepare for the impacts of urbanization, globalization, and climate change. As a member of the 100RC Network, Seattle will gain access to tools, funding, technical expertise, and other resources to help our city meet the challenges of the 21st century.

As part of the 100RC Network, Seattle will be eligible to receive grant funding to hire a CRO, who will lead the citywide resilience-building process. In the coming months, Mayor Murray, along with his Offices of Sustainability & Environment, Policy & Innovation, and Emergency Management, will work with stakeholders to identify and appoint the City’s Chief Resilience Officer.

“We are so proud to welcome Seattle to 100 Resilient Cities,” 100RC President Michael Berkowitz said. “We selected Seattle because of its leaders’ commitment to resilience building and the innovative and proactive way they’ve been thinking about the challenges the city faces. We’re excited to get to work.”

“For us, a resilient city has good emergency response and meets its citizens’ needs,” Berkowitz continued. “It has diverse economies and takes care of both its built and natural infrastructure. It has effective leadership, empowered stakeholders, and an integrated planning system. All of those things are essential for a resilient city.”

About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.

City, State to begin implementing next steps for I-5 and East Duwamish Greenbelt

Mayor Ed Murray and Governor Jay Inslee are initiating next steps to improve public safety and public health in the area under I-5 and in the East Duwamish Greenbelt along the freeway in South Seattle.

“Seattle and the State of Washington will work together to address decades-old safety and public health issues under I-5,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Through a combination of outreach and services, as well as better access for first responders, we hope to transition those currently living in tents under the freeway into stable shelter, while supporting public safety in the area.”

“This is a person-centered approach with the necessary supports to shift people into more stable housing,” Inslee said. “I am pleased that the city of Seattle, King County, and the state are working together to assist those in need. The issues with the I-5 green belt are symptomatic of larger problems that we are working on with communities and partners around the state to alleviate homelessness for children, veterans, low-income workers and those with substance abuse or mental health issues.”

The City and State will take steps to: (1) transition people living in unsanctioned encampments under the freeway with meaningful offers of shelter and services; (2) clean up major health hazards, including human waste and garbage, and remove overgrown brush and other fire hazards; (3) improve access to the area for first responders and maintenance workers; and (4) engage a design consultant to make recommendations for deterring entry in dangerous locations and provide positive activation of other public areas.

Outreach teams from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission will work for several weeks to build relationships with current occupants and offer outreach with offers of shelter and individualized services: case management, addiction treatment, housing assistance, food assistance and medical services. Mission will not be accepting funds from the City or State for outreach activities, but those contacted will have access to publicly funded shelter space, motel vouchers and travel assistance, as appropriate.

“We are encouraged to see the City and State address one of the most problematic areas in our community and look forward to partnering with them in this work,” said Jeff Lilley, president of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.  “We know many of these people by name and their unique situations. Whether someone struggles with mental illness, is in need of recovery services, qualifies for veteran’s aid, or has other challenges, we will connect them to social service providers who can best offer the help they need.”

After people have left the unsanctioned encampments, public health hazards, debris, overgrown brush, and fire hazards under the freeway will be removed by Departments of Transportation (WSDOT) and Corrections (DOC). Seattle Parks and Recreation will remove overgrown vegetation and debris from the greenbelt hillside above the freeway.

WSDOT will enhance and maintain the existing gravel roads that run alongside the freeway to improve access by first responders, maintenance workers and outreach teams.

Washington State’s 2016 Supplemental Transportation Budget allocated $1 million which will be used in all steps of the plan. Funding for outreach and services, as well as removing overgrown brush from the greenbelt, will be absorbed within existing City funding in 2016.

The City of Seattle will hire an independent consultant to engage the Seattle City Council and a diverse group of stakeholders within local government and the community to identify and recommend options for access management and future uses. The goal of access management is to allow maintenance crews and law enforcement to better serve the area, not to create an impenetrable barrier or fence. The consultant will also identify and recommend potential long-term activation strategies in areas where the space under the interstate allows for alternate uses. The state, county and city will review the final report and jointly agree on a path forward.

Seattle will spend nearly $50 million this year providing outreach, services and shelter for those experiencing homelessness, including $7 million approved following the mayor’s declaration of a State of Emergency.

On January 26, 2016, five people were shot and three killed under the freeway. A joint assessment of the area was led by Seattle Fire Chief Harold D. Scoggins. Participating agencies from the City of Seattle, King County and the State of Washington included WSDOT, Seattle Human Services Department, Public Health – Seattle & King County and other partners.

 

Mayor Murray releases 20-year growth plan for Seattle

2035

Mayor Ed Murray today transmitted his proposal to update Seattle’s 20-year Comprehensive Plan to the Seattle City Council. Seattle 2035 focuses on equitable growth as Seattle expects gain 120,000 residents, 115,000 jobs, and 70,000 housing units over the next two decades.

“Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and while this growth provides a booming economy, we must continue to focus that development in livable, walkable neighborhoods with the amenities that help people thrive,” said Murray. “With this comprehensive plan, we will build a more equitable future for all residents with better access to the affordable homes, jobs, transit, and parks that make Seattle vibrant.”

Development of Seattle 2035 has been ongoing since 2013. The final proposal was informed by thousands of comments, 57 public presentations and 2,600 people participating in public meetings.

Seattle 2035 includes goals and policies, including those that:

  • Guide more future growth to areas within a 10-minute walk of frequent transit
  • Continue the Plan’s vision for mixed-use Urban Villages and Urban Centers
  • Monitor future growth in greater detail, including data about racial disparities
  • Increase the supply and diversity of affordable housing consistent with the Mayor’s Housing Affordabibility and Livability Agenda (HALA)
  • Update how we measure the performance of the city’s transportation and parks systems
  • Integrate the City’s planning for parks, preschool, transit, housing, transportation, City facilities and services

Seattle 2035 incorporates principles of the City’s Equitable Development initiative and new policies in almost every element of the plan specifically identify ways in which the City can reduce the risk of displacement for marginalized populations and improve their access to opportunities.

The policies in the plan governing industrial lands remain relatively stable. The mayor has begun a series of conversations with industrial and maritime stakeholders to develop new supports for their industries while balancing other pressures on land use in the City.

The plan and related legislation will be introduced to the Seattle City Council’s Planning Land Use and Zoning committee, chaired by Councilmember Rob Johnson, later this month.

Seattle 2035 represents years of work by so many here at the City and also reflects the feedback of thousands of Seattle residents,” said Councilmember Johnson. “The City of Seattle has always used the Comprehensive Plan to set ambitious goals related to sustainability, and I am so glad to hear that this update reflects a similar degree of ambition to combat Seattle’s equity and affordability crisis. I look forward to seeing the final plan and bringing it before my fellow Councilmembers.”

Seattle is required by Washington State’s Growth Management Act to periodically update its Comprehensive Plan. The last major update of the plan was in 2004. Seattle 2035 is consistent with State and County growth policies.

In 1994, Seattle’s first Comprehensive Plan was approved. The 1994 Comprehensive Plan was based around an Urban Village strategy. The Urban Village strategy designated certain neighborhoods as Urban Centers or Urban Villages and encouraged the development of new housing, jobs, and transit options within these areas. Over the past 20 years, about 75 percent of new housing and jobs have located in Urban Villages or Urban Centers, consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

Mayor Murray and Chief O’Toole issue statements on May Day violence

Today, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement after five Seattle police officers were injured during violent May Day protests:

“I want to thank the Seattle Police Department for its extraordinary work today to protect the safety of people and property during this year’s May Day events,” Mayor Murray said. “It is unfortunate and deeply regrettable that in a City that goes to incredible lengths to respect First Amendment rights, there are some who disregard our values and engage in senseless acts of violence and property destruction. This City condemns any acts of physical violence against our police officers, and my thoughts are with the officers who were injured.”

Nine people were arrested after windows were broken, and protesters lit fireworks, and threw rocks, flares and several Molotov cocktails at police officers.

“Seattle Police Department supports peaceful protest, but has zero tolerance for any acts of violence towards persons, police and property,” said Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “While we hope for peaceful demonstrations, we need to be prepared for the unexpected. Officers underwent enhanced crowd management training and developed a comprehensive preparation plan for May Day, and the numerous protests that take place in our city year round. We will review today’s events in order to continue to improve our crowd management practices. I want to thank all of officers for their service, particularly the five who were injured. My thoughts are with you.”

Mayor Murray and Chief O’Toole visited the injured police officers at Harborview Medical Center this evening.

Seattle first Northwest city to achieve national Emergency Management accreditation

The City of Seattle’s emergency management program was accredited by the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) Commission at their spring meeting in Lexington, Kentucky.  Seattle becomes the first city in the four-state FEMA region to achieve accreditation. This achievement highlights commitment of the City and the Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) to improving emergency preparedness, responsiveness, and recovery.

“While there is no way to predict when a natural hazard, accident or incident occurs, we will continue to prepare and plan for how to best respond to crisis in order to save lives and coordinate recovery,” said Mayor Murray. “I applaud the hard-work of our emergency planners and staff for achieving this accreditation—demonstrating that public preparedness and safety remains the top priority for first responders, emergency staff, and City leaders.”

EMAP is a set of professional standards developed for emergency management programs designed to demonstrate that programs have thoughtfully studied the impacts their communities face, developed emergency plans, trained, educated, and exercised appropriately for those hazards.  Seattle’s OEM developed documents and protocols over the course of several years to address:

·         Emergency authorities

·         Hazard identification and mitigation

·         Prevention

·         Operational readiness

·         Incident management

·         Resource management and logistics

·         Mutual aid

·         Communications and warning

·         Operations and procedures

·         Facility readiness

·         Training, exercises, and corrective actions

·         Public education and information

“Accreditation is the stamp of approval by subject matter experts from around the nation – providing Seattle a formal recognition by third party professionals as to the quality of the City’s emergency preparedness efforts,” said Barb Graff, Director of the Office of Emergency Management. “It shows the City’s commitment to excellence in emergency management.”

A team of emergency management subject matter experts from across the country spent a week in Seattle last September reviewing OEM documents to certify that Seattle’s program met each of the 64 standard elements.  The EMAP Commission, based upon that assessment, granted 5-year accreditation to the City of Seattle.

Preparing for emergencies collaborative effort between City departments, the Mayor’s office, City Council, community stakeholders.  Major emergency preparedness and public safety milestones in the last several years have included the production of a hazards interactive map, updating of all of the City’s emergency plans, and adaptation of public education materials all available atwww.seattle.gov/emergency .

Murray proposes funding plan for additional police officers

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today proposed a funding plan to finance the hiring of 200 new police officers and investments in the City’s 911 call center as proposed in his 2016 State of the City address.

Murray will finance the expansion of the Seattle Police Department through reprioritizing existing resources, identifying efficiencies and by increasing selected fees and taxes on Seattle businesses.

“Public safety is the paramount duty of local government,” said Murray. “As one of the fastest growing cities in America, we face serious strains on our public safety resources that must be addressed. Today, I am proposing a specific funding plan for public safety investments that strikes a balance between new revenues and reprioritizing existing resources.”

The addition of 200 officers by the end of 2019 would grow Seattle Police Department to 1,464 officers, the highest in the history of the department. This level of expansion is in line with the recently completed police staffing study conducted by Berkshire Advisors.

“We must also ensure that we are using existing police resources most effectively, especially with regard to crime prevention,” said Murray. “We will enhance our community engagement and outreach, police visibility, and proactive relationship-building across the city.”

The cost of the new officers, improving the 911 call center and other information technology investments will cost $37 million per year. Murray is proposing to raise $14 million in new revenues and fund the other $23 million (nearly two-thirds of the necessary funding) from existing resources. Roughly half of the General Fund resources has already been approved by council for hiring additional police officers.

The proposed increases in taxes and fees on Seattle businesses are:

  • 2 percent increase over two years in the existing Business and Occupation (B&O) tax rates, which have not risen since 1991, generating $8.4 million per year. A retail business with $1 million in revenues would pay an additional $70 a year.
  • Restructuring and increasing the City’s Business License fee, with fees increasing in five steps depending on the size of the business, generating $5.8 million per year. The smallest businesses would see a license fee increase of $25 a year.

Seattle is already on track to hire 120 additional officers by 2017, a commitment made the mayor made in 2014.

Incoming calls to SPD’s 911 call center call have placed a growing strain on the current system. Call center volumes have increased by 13 percent since 2010. The call center will be adding staff and making technology investments to handle the growing number of calls for service.

Other technology investments at the department include technology infrastructure to support body worn cameras for officers and a new time tracking tool to help manage officer overtime.

Last week, Murray announced that he had identified existing funds to construct a new $160 million North Precinct and would not send a public safety levy to the voters in 2016 or 2017.