Seattle Mayor Ed Murray delivered his third annual State of the City address on Tuesday afternoon.
"Today the State of the City reflects the 21st Century dreams of the 1962 World's Fair: a vibrant city driven by technology and science, creating jobs and innovation in everything from transportation to health care," said Murray in a packed City Council Chambers. "The State of the City also reflects our worst fears from the Great Depression, as issues of homelessness and inequity continue despite decades of effort on the part of this City to resolve them."
Read seven takeaways from the SOTC below.
1. To address the needs of a growing city, the mayor called for a larger police department, with a total of 200 net new officers from 2013 staffing levels.
In the last two years, the City has hired 50 additional officers.
2. To respond to community concerns about property crime, the Seattle Police Department are forming a dedicated team focused on bringing down property crime rates.
In his address to the Council, Mayor Murray noted that “public safety is an area where we have made significant progress, yet still have significant challenges. Even with the progress we have made in the past year, much more needs to be done to address property crime.”
The department is now using many of the same strategies that have been effective in addressing chronic crime and drug dealing downtown in other neighborhoods in the city. The department will also improve the efficiency of the City’s 911 response system.
“Although the Seattle Police Department is larger than it has ever been in its history, our police force is still strained,” said Murray. “When I came to this office, I committed to hiring 100 more officers over attrition during my first term. But I recognize that we need more officers for better visibility throughout our city.”
3. In his address, Mayor Murray also announced a major expansion of the City's Utility Discount Program, which reduces utility costs for low-income families by 50 percent.
By auto-enrolling more than 10,000 tenants in Seattle Housing Authority properties, the City will reach the mayor's goal to double enrollment in the discount program to 28,000 households two years early
4. The mayor also heralded the success of Vision Zero, Seattle's strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.
According to the mayor's office, in just one year, through education, engineering and enforcement, the City has reduced traffic fatalities by 25 percent, reaching an all-time low.
Performance Seattle, the accountability tool to allow the public to measure the success of City government, continues to chart accountability measures for each department.
5. The mayor cited Seattle's current successes, including 63,000 new jobs in the city in the last five years, an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent and median income at an all-time high.
But the mayor noted that some communities are not fully benefiting from the current growth, especially African American and East African male youth between the ages 14 to 24. Seattle is one of 14 cities to receive a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies' Innovation Teams program, which aims to enhance the capacity of City Halls to solve intractable urban problems and improve the lives of residents.
Murray challenged Seattle's employers to help double the number of available positions in the Mayor's Youth Employment Initiative to 4,000.
6. As part of the City's efforts to ensure that neighborhoods remain affordable and livable, the mayor today announced new initiatives to support small businesses and nurture art and culture as Seattle grows.
The Commercial Affordability Advisory Committee will identify issues that lead to displacement of small businesses in growing Urban Villages and recommend actions that support affordable commercial spaces.
7. The mayor will issue a new Executive Order that establishes an Open Data policy that was developed by the Seattle Department of Information Technology in partnership with the University of Washington
The policy will prioritize data transparency for all City programs, while reinforcing the City's Privacy Program.
Cox Media Group