Seattle City Budget: How to Make Your Voice Heard Now

Right now, the City of Seattle is determining how they will distribute funds in our city for 2024. During this process we have an opportunity as residents of Seattle to influence these decisions. At Y-WE we often talk about building the future we want to see in the world, and while this may seem like a small step, this is one way to help shape the future of Seattle. These tips are brought to you by Y-WE’s Programs, Outreach, & Advocacy Manager, Karisa Morikawa! 

How does the Seattle City budget process work?

Every other year, the City of Seattle creates a budget for the upcoming two years through this process:

  1. Each city department submits a departmental budget proposal to the Mayor’s office
  2. Mayor’s office works with the Finance and City Budget Office to ensure the city will have enough money to support what is being requested 
  3. Mayor’s office proposes a two year Budget 
  4. Seattle City Council reviews the budget and holds public meetings to hear from residents
  5. Seattle City Council amends and approves a budget for the next two years

What’s happening with the budget now?

  • In 2022 the City of Seattle created a two year budget for 2023 and 2024. 
  • On 9/26 the Mayor’s office announced their proposed adjustments for the 2024 budget
  • City Council is currently reviewing the Mayor’s proposed adjustments and are holding public meetings to hear from residents
  • City Council will amend and adopt the budget for 2024.

Topics included in the budget process that you may want to comment on include:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Climate action
  • Food
  • Living wage and income

Y-WE endorsed the Seattle Solidarity Budget which “demand[s] the City of Seattle [to] provide the residents of our city with basic guarantees that provide a base standard of living and quality of life for all people in Seattle.” Learn more about their budget guarantees here.

How to make your voice heard

  1. Call or email your Seattle City Council members!
    • District 1: Lisa Herbolt (206) 684-8801, 
    • District 2: Tammy Morales (206) 684-8802,
    • District 3: Kshama Sawant (206) 684-8803,
    • District 4: Alex Pederson (206) 684-8804,
    • District 5: Debora Juarez (206) 684-8805,
    • District 6: Dan Strauss (206) 684-8806,
    • District 7: Andrew Lewis (206) 684-8807,
    • City Wide Position 8: Teresa Mosqueda (206) 684-8808,
    • City Wide Position 9: Sara Nelson (206) 684-8809,
    • Find your council district here
  1. Submit written comments to the Seattle City Council anytime by emailing 
  1. Give public comment!
    • The Seattle City Council will hold two public hearings specifically designed to hear from residents about their budget priorities
    • The next two public hearings will take place on Wednesday Oct 18th 5:00PM and Monday Nov 13th 5:00PM
    • You can give public comment in person at Seattle City Hall (600 4th Ave Seattle) or online. The online link to sign up to offer public comment is posted two hours before a hearing and can be found here.

Tips for giving public comment

  1. Prepare ahead of time! 
    • Be aware of the amount of time you will have (usually 1 or 2 minutes), 
    • Plan what you’re going to say
    • You can even practice and time yourself
  2. Introduce yourself
    • Name
    • Where you live (which city or district)
    • Relevant affiliation or identity (i.e. program manager at Y-WE, youth participant at y-we, student at ____ school, parent, women of color, commuter, renter, voter, future voter, etc..)
  3. State which topic you are calling in about and what your position is
  4. Make it personal
    • Tell a story
    • Talk about how this will personally impact you or others
  5. Reference a few compelling facts
  6. Restate your position

Seattle Solidarity Budget is hosting a virtual Public Comment Workshop on Monday Oct 16 6-8pm PST. You can read more and sign up here.

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