City of Tukwila forced to make painful cuts in face of budget shortfall
By Gwen Davis
This past spring, the City of Tukwila discovered that it's facing a $95 million public safety budget shortfall. A public safety package was passed by Tukwila voters last November, and included plans for a new police station, new fire stations and a new public works facility. However, upon realizing that they were short millions of dollars, the council has been scrambling over how to proceed.
Most recently, the city is considering adopting a resolution to remedy the budget, but it would also displace 15 immigrant-owned businesses, and underdeliver on promised public safety services, according to immigrant business owners and community activists, including Puget Sound Sage, OneAmerica, MLK County Working Families Party and other groups. These groups are passionately fighting the proposal.
On Monday evening, the City Council held a working session about the resolution. Dozens of activists showed up to voice their disapproval for the plan, and urge the city council to move in another direction. However, at the end of the session, it seemed likely that the resolution would pass.
"Next Monday we'll vote, and will probably have it proposed to adopt the resolution," said Councilmember Kate Kruller at the end of the session. "It feels like it's going to pass."
But opponents say it's imperative that the council creates a solution that does not include displacement.
"I am very disheartened about displacing immigrant-owned businesses," said a member of MLK County Working Families Party at the session. "Our city's residents shouldn't have to sacrifice these kinds of public services for the poor management of the public safety plan."