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Budget Proposal for 2015 includes more money for Neighborhoods

Have a project you’d like to see happen in Fremont?  The Mayor’s funding proposal for 2015-16 includes more money that Fremont might find helpful for community projects. P-Patches will get more support, the PACE program, in which our own Ralph Weathers has participated will get staffing support, and small projects through the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund will be able to apply for a pool of funds from dollars that have not been awarded as planned or were underspent by projects (our recent Fremont…Bright!! clean-up grant, for instance, spent a little less than the full $1000 the city granted us, when all the bills were paid). The Department of Neighborhoods just issued a brief analysis of the Mayor’s proposal.  Their analysis reads, in part:

Here are the notable changes to our budget:

P-Patch Community Gardening Program

With the rapid increase in the number of P-Patch gardens, the proposed budget includes $24,207 to fund increased water costs ($10,000) and the regular maintenance to the new web-based database ($14,000) that will launch this fall. It also increases the existing half-time administrative staff to a full-time position which will be covered using existing funds.

People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE)

During its two-year pilot, PACE has been led by three Neighborhood District Coordinators. Due to the fact that this work is very extensive and has been “additive” to the work of the District Coordinators, the PACE program could not continue under this staffing model. The Mayor’s proposed budget includes a new half-time position that will be dedicated to oversee and operate PACE to help us continue this successful program.

Neighborhood Matching Fund

Over the years, the Neighborhood Matching Fund has accrued a fund balance of $1.5 million. These are dollars that have not been awarded or are underspent by projects. Because this money is available and can be reallocated for other neighborhood purposes, it will be used to support projects through the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund (small projects only). This one-time use of the fund balance in 2015 will have no impact on the total award resources available to neighborhoods through the Fund; plus these dollars will be used to support neighborhoods’ transportation needs.

The Mayor’s Proposed 2015-‘16 Budget can be found at www.seattle.gov/financedepartment. Seattle City Council will review the budget, conduct meetings with each department and hold public hearings on October 7 at Garfield Community Center and October 23 at Seattle City Hall. You can learn more on their website at www.seattle.gov/council/budget/.

Also noted in the message:

The biggest change for DON is that the Office of Education and Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) are leaving the department to create the new Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL). Even though this does not impact the work of the department, you will see a significant drop in our total budget of $6.5 million that will be transferred to the new DEEL.

 

In the proposed budget are several technical adjustments. They include adjustments for healthcare costs, retirement, COLA, inflation, etc., staff funding alignments*, and reductions due to one-time projects that were funded last year. Based on these adjustments, you may see increases or even decreases in program budgets, but they don’t negatively affect the staffing level or the ability to operate DON programs or services.

*In order to have or even keep administrative support for programs, positions have been funded from various pockets. The proposed budget now aligns the positions with their program. This includes management positions as well.

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