Seattle budget aimed at building up rainy day fund



Posted on November 16, 2009 at 7:04 PM

SEATTLE - At the quiet downtown Seattle Public Library, the Seattle City Council loudly proclaimed a balanced $900 million budget for next year.

The Council's 2010 budget restores more than a million dollars to Seattle's library system, which Mayor Greg Nickels had cut.

It means many libraries can now remain open throughout the week.

"The council recognizes the library system is our greatest asset," said Council member Nick Licata.

How can they do it? On top of the mayor's cuts already in place, the Council is making big cuts at City Hall.

- They're cutting meetings and travel to save $2.6 million.

- They're raising parking tickets by $2 a ticket to generate $1 million more.

- And raising utility rates to generate another $1 million.

- They're also saving nearly $1 million by cutting the mayor's staff by nine people.

"We heard the mayoral candidates say during the campaign they didn't want as many people in those offices, so we took them at their word," said Budget Chair Jean Godden.

The Council is partly restoring the city's rainy day fund, which Mayor Nickels had drained.

Symbolically, they're putting coins in a piggy bank, but it represents $5 million, which will go back into the city's reserve funds.

The council will add $5 million to the city's rainy-day fund. Godden and Council Member Tim Burgess have agreed to take a 10-day furlough to help the city's bottom line.