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Adjustments to our 2020 budget

Over the past few months, we have all been enduring unprecedented change that is fundamentally altering our City. In response to COVID-19, all City of Seattle departments, including Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, have shifted our work and efforts to support our communities during this crisis. And, we will continue to adapt and do everything we can to ensure that all Seattle residents, particularly our most vulnerable residents, have the resources, information, and support they need to respond to and recover from the impacts of this pandemic. 

As we are all too aware, one of the major impacts of this crisis has been financial. A new budget forecast for 2020 shows a $210 – $300 million dollar shortfall in the City of Seattle’s General Fund. This is the fund through which the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods budget is allocated. As a department, it was clear that we had to make some tough decisions to adjust to this new budget reality.  

We examined our budget to find ways that we could make reductions while still maintaining the integrity of our core programs and services and minimizing the impact on our community. In the end, we were able to reduce our 2020 budget by $4,865,000.  

We did so by reducing our grant funding for the year, postponing the new Healthy Food Fund grant program, and shelving new funding that would have allowed us to make capital investments in our P-Patch community gardens.  

Below are details on our proposed 2020 budget reductions: 

Neighborhood Matching Fund 

The 2020 budget for our Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) program is being reduced by $1,575,000.  

  • A reduction of $1,500,000 was created by pausing the Small Sparks Fund and eliminating the spring and summer cycles of the Community Partnership Fund for 2020. 
  • A reduction of $75,000 was made by eliminating the one-time funding that would have increased a grant for the Seattle Repertory Theater to support the Public Works Seattle project.     

We remain committed to the Neighborhood Matching Fund and its mission of investing in community-driven projects. That mission is more important now than ever. We are currently assessing how the remaining funds can best support community as we all work to recover from this pandemic and will announce details of our Fall 2020 funding cycle in the coming weeks. 

P-Patch Community Gardening 

The 2020 budget for our P-Patch Community Gardening program is being reduced by $725,000. This does not reflect a cut to the program’s baseline budget but rather an elimination of the additional funding the program was budgeted to receive in 2020 from the Sweetened Beverage Tax (SBT) revenues. These funds were intended to support P-Patch community garden capital investments. 

Our core P-Patch program remains intact. Throughout this crisis, P-Patch staff members have been dedicated to going out to ensure gardens are tended and provide strategic support to our most vulnerable community gardeners. The program remains a tremendous asset in highlighting the needs for food access and security. 

Healthy Food Fund 

The $2.5 million budget for the new Healthy Food Fund is being eliminated for 2020. This new community granting program was to be funded by the Sweetened Beverage Tax and provide resources to community-based organizations to improve public health. The program is now being delayed until 2021. 

Community Funding 

We eliminated the one-time funding of $65,000 for the AIDS Walk Pathway, a community-driven and collaboratively funded project that will be located on Capitol Hill Station. 

We understand that these changes will have direct impacts on you and your community. Please know that our staff continues to work tirelessly to maintain our programs and ensure that your needs, concerns, and ideas are at the forefront of our decision making.