Updated, 3:35 p.m.
The City of Seattle is facing a $67 million general fund deficit for 2011.
Today (Monday, Sept. 27, 2010) we heard from Mayor Mike McGinn, who presented his budget recommendations to Seattle City Council. An overview can be found on the mayor’s website, and a PDF that runs through the numbers can be found here.
Parks and Recreation:
Under the mayor’s budget, the Parks Department will absorb $8.1 million in reductions.
A press release from the Parks Department reads: “We are forced by the economy to make cuts that you will feel and see, and to change the way we do business.”
McGinn is proposing that, beginning in January 2011, the Green Lake Community Center (7201 E Green Lake Dr N) operate under “Limited-Use Status” with reduced operating hours. While after-school programs at the community center will continue, the Budget Overview indicates that the Green Lake Community Center’s “functionality” will be “transformed” in 2011, resulting in reduced public access to the community center.
From the full-text of the proposed budget, which is available as a PDF:
The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) will occupy the Lake Union Armory resulting in the closure of the Armory as MOHAI begins construction in 2011 to renovate the building. Due to the transfer to MOHAI, Parks, Seattle Parks Foundation, and ARC staff that currently work in the Armory will be permanently relocated. These staff will be dispersed to other Parks facilities, including the Green Lake Community Center. To make room for the staff, the Green Lake Community Center will offer reduced public drop-in access to the gym.
A “Visitor’s Center for Green Lake Park and a one-stop location for event and athletic field scheduling” will be established at the Green Lake Community Center. From the Parks press release:
This model changes the use of Green Lake Community Center to house the consolidated recreation operations of three geographic divisions and the event scheduling staff. It will serve as a welcoming site where visitors can pay for a program, resolve billing issues, and make reservations for picnics, ballfields, tennis courts, building rentals, and special events such as weddings. It will be open during business hours on weekdays. The building will continue to serve as a hygiene center for people who are homeless; the gym will accommodate local youth basketball teams and adult basketball, volleyball, and table tennis sports leagues; and the center will still offer tot drop-in programs.
The full-text of the proposed budget indicates that the Green Lake Community Center will lose “1.0 FTE Recreation Center Coordinator, 1.0 FTE Recreation Center Coordinator Assistant, 1.0 FTE Recreation Leader, 1.5 FTE Recreation Attendant, and 1.5 Maintenance Laborer.” This will save $440,000.
The mayor proposed that all pools, including Evans Pool, remain open, that funding be preserved for lifeguards at all of the City’s public beaches, and that the Green Lake wading pool remain open seven days a week in the summer months.
The proposed budget also begins to transition the operations of the Green Lake Rowing and Sailing Center (also known as the Green Lake Small Craft Center) to a self-sufficient program operated by the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), an independent nonprofit organization:
Beginning in 2011, the full-time Recreation Leader at [the center] is abrogated, and a part-time Recreation Attendant is added at [the] site. Hours of operation are reduced to approximately three hours per day, Monday through Friday, and some changes in programming will occur. Due to the reduction staff and their availability to assist in a boating emergency, the boating programs will be required to operate as “paired programs‟ to meet minimum safety standards. The popular afterschool program for teens will continue, but fees will increase. In addition, ARC will increase its contribution to Parks and pay for some program related expenses.
$67,000 will be saved by changing “2.0 FTE Recreation Leaders to 1.2 FTE Recreation Attendants, due to reduced public office hours at the Green Lake Small Craft Center and Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center.”
Parks fees and charges will be increased, including those associated with swimming pools, athletic fields, community meeting rooms and gymnasiums, and special events such as ceremonies and picnics.
The Parks’ press release indicates that there will be a reduction “in both capacity and frequency” in basic park cleaning: service levels will diminish in litter pickup, comfort station and picnic shelter cleaning, and turf and shrub bed maintenance. There will be a decrease in the frequency of tree pruning and a reduction in the maintenance of forested parkland. Ballfield maintenance and lining will be reduced significantly, meaning that user groups will “need to step up and take on many of these duties.”
“We know some users of parks, community centers, and other Parks amenities will be upset and will believe their favorite facility or service has been singled out or that we don’t value it,” reads the press release from the Parks Department. “We do value it; the reality we face means, simply, that we can no longer provide it all at today’s level.”
Seattle Public Library:
The Library, under the mayor’s proposed budget, will maintain current hours of operation through 2011, although library fines will be increased.
The Library will convert eight of its smallest, lower-utilized branches (Delridge, Fremont, International District/Chinatown, Madrona-Sally Goldmark, Montlake, New Holly, South Park, and Wallingford) into “circulating” libraries with reduced on-site librarian services. The Green Lake Branch (7364 E Green Lake Dr N), however, will retain its professional staff.
Note that final decisions about the 2011 city budget will be made by City Council, which will discuss and vote on options between October 28 and November 12.
There are several ways that you can provide feedback to City Council regarding the city’s 2011-2012 budget, including a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at the Northgate Community Center Gym (10510 5th Ave NE). Sign-in begins at 5 p.m. and the public hearing starts at 5:30 p.m.