The Seattle Police Department will be able to hold onto the bulk of $15 million in savings from officer departures while community programs like the Garfield Super Block project got financial boosts Monday as the Seattle City Council passed a debated mid-year budget bill.
Meanwhile, the city’s $4 an hour hazard pay ordinance for grocery workers will remain in place indefinitely.
The city council actions came amid ongoing debate at City Hall over worries from Chief Adrian Diaz and Mayor Jenny Durkan about keeping and recruiting officers to Seattle Police as reform efforts continue in the city and through the challenges of the pandemic.
The biggest budgetary debate Monday arose over $15 million in savings from officers leaving the department. Rejecting proposals that would have let the department retain even more of the money and another from District 3 rep Kshama Sawant that would have stripped away more from SPD, the full council voted on a final bill that let the police department keep around $10 million of the savings with the rest being redirected to the Human Services Department and community-based public safety alternatives.
Part of that social services spend will earmarked for Sawant’s District 3 and the Garfield Super Block project that CHS reported on here to improve the public space around Garfield High School and the adjacent Garfield Community Center.
“Thanks to the efforts of grassroots organizers, working alongside my Council office, we have won critical funding that will help us fulfill the vision of the Garfield Super Block,” Sawant said in a press release following Monday’s vote, despite her vote against the final bill.
“The Garfield Super Block will be a community gem. It will enhance community safety and create good union jobs.”
SPD, meanwhile, released a statement Monday thanking the council. “This retention of funding will allow SPD to attempt to mitigate some of these staffing losses, implement new technologies and projects to continue to meet the goals of the consent decree, and to attract and retain the best officers in the nation to serve the people of Seattle,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Monday also brought some important inaction from the council as a vote on ending the city’s emergency hazard pay ordinance for grocery workers was put on hold indefinitely. Earlier this year, grocery giant Kroger said it was closing two stores in Seattle including Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E QFC over they extra pay requirement. The council Monday opted to place a decision on the hazard pay ordinance on indefinite hold, Seattle City Council Insight reports.
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