In the year marked by conflict between Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council members, the Council approved a $6.5 billion 2021 Seattle budget on Thanksgiving week.
After a majority of the Council expressed their support for a 50% reduction in the budget for the Seattle Police Department demanded by some community activists, the Council approved significantly smaller cuts. The final 2021 budget reduces SPD spending by 20%, allowing the department to hire 100 new officers.
Retailers in Seattle have expressed concerns about police response times for the past several years as incidents of theft and in-store violence have increased. The Covid-19 pandemic has added new challenges to doing business in Seattle. With an estimated 5% – 10% of downtown workers actually working in those offices, the number of people in downtown Seattle has dropped precipitously.
In fact, the Downtown Seattle Association has documented more than 140 permanent business closures downtown. DSA and other business organizations raised concerns about the adopted budget, saying that spending reductions for police will compromise public safety and slow the city’s recovery from the pandemic.