Councilmember Godden left office on January 1, 2016.
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Citizens Care

There’s no doubting that Seattle residents care passionately about how the city prioritizes its increasingly scarce resources.

Earlier this week, I was on the program at the Seattle Community Council Federation, along with Council Central Staff Director Ben Noble. Our topic was one that we’ve been dealing directly with these last four weeks: “Seattle’s Budget Crisis – Preserving Essential Services in the Economic Downtown.”

In short, the federation wanted to know: how will the council close the $67 million – and growing – budget shortfall?

That was the central question that the dozen community leaders from Seattle neighborhoods – ranging geographically from Leschi to Greenwood and points in between – were asking. They also had suggestions for how the city could shift priorities to save scarce revenues. Among the budget-saving suggestions: make better use of volunteers, charge higher fees for street uses, reduce staffing at community centers but keep them operating, reduce police management, retain crime prevention officers  and cut back on certain tax exemptions.

Federation president Jeannie Hale said, “I’m afraid if we close our community center we’ll never get it back.”

The evening was a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred discussion.  If there was good news amidst the bleak economic outlet, it was that everyone recognizes times are tough and there will have to be sacrifices. Certainly the citizens are engaged in the process and intend to participate.