SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed a $5.6 million plan to address trash and maintenance needs in parks and public spaces.
The city has strained to meet those needs since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the mayor’s office said Wednesday, The Seattle Times reported. The mayor’s office cited a rise in trash and illegal dumping, a dip in staffing due to COVID-19 protocols and a reduction in volunteer cleanups. Seattle Public Utilities collected 195% more waste material in public spaces from July to September (921,000 pounds) than April to June (313,000 pounds), Durkan’s office said.
Durkan’s plan requires council approval. It would add about $1.2 million to Seattle’s remaining 2020 budget and about $4.4 million in 2021 to boost trash pickup and maintenance. Council members have been discussing similar ideas.
The mayor’s plan would include a program that increases the distribution and retrieval of trash bags at homeless encampments and expand a needle-disposal program. It would also expand a twice-weekly litter and illegal-dumping abatement program from eight neighborhood routes to 18.
It also would increase spending on graffiti removal and business-district cleanups while assigning teams to chip away at the city’s cleaning maintenance backlog, according to Durkan’s office.
The council has been discussing amendments to the 2021 budget plan the mayor submitted in September. Durkan’s office published an updated economic forecast Monday that upped Seattle’s expected general-government revenues by $57 million in 2020 and 2021. The mayor is suggesting the council use some of that money to pay for her trash-pickup and maintenance plan.
Durkan’s plan incorporates council ideas, she noted.