Seattle grapples with homelessness, legal spending in Mayor Burgess’ budget

Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess proposed a 2018 budget Monday that would boost money for homeless services and respond to a surge in spending on claims and lawsuits against the city.

Seattle would again boost its spending to combat homelessness under a proposed 2018 budget Mayor Tim Burgess delivered Monday to the City Council.

The package calls for spending $63 million on homeless services next year, up from about $61 million this year and $39 million as recently as four years ago.

The council is expected to make changes to the budget before voting on it Nov. 20.

“The dramatic rise in homelessness that has accompanied our recent, rapid growth is troubling to all of us,” Burgess said in a speech to the council and others at City Hall. “It is a challenge to the conscience to see so many fellow Seattleites sleeping outside.”

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Under the proposed budget, the city would continue to increase its police force while using modest revenue increases to help offset a surge in spending on claims and lawsuits — an issue that could heat up this fall’s race for city attorney.

Seattle is spending $12 million more than it anticipated this year to defend and settle cases brought against the city, according to Budget Director Ben Noble, with some of the money going to outside attorneys who contract with the city attorney’s office.

“We’re seeing more cases and larger cases, liability cases in particular,” Noble said, adding that the trend is expected to continue next year.

The budget proposed Monday was mostly put together under Ed Murray, who resigned as mayorSept. 12 amid allegations that he had sexually abused teenagers decades ago. The document issued by his successor hews closely to the 2018 budget projections that Murray and the council endorsed last year.

Burgess was a council member until last week, when his colleagues selected him to serve as mayor until the results of the Nov. 7 election between Cary Moon and Jenny Durkan are certified.

The temporary mayor alluded to the Murray scandal in his budget speech, referring to “the painful crisis of the last months.” Murray has denied the allegations.

“To survivors, I want you to know your city government stands with you,” Burgess said. “We will support you. We will walk with you on that path toward healing.”

The proposed 2018 budget includes $500,000 in additional spending to support survivors of…

Read the full article from the Source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *