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Seattle, Washington

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Seattle, Washington
Official Seal of Seattle.jpg
General information
Murray ed.jpg
Mayor:Ed Murray
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:2013
Next mayoral election:2017
Last city council election:2013
Next city council election:November 3, 2015
City council seats:9
2014 FY Budget:$4.4 billion
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:652,405
Gender:50.0% Female
Race:White 69.5%
African American 7.9%
Asian 13.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 0.8%
Two or More 5.1%
Ethnicity:Hispanic or Latino 6.6%
Median household income:$63,470
High school graduation rate:92.9%
College graduation rate:56.5%
Related Seattle offices
Washington Congressional Delegation
Washington State Legislature
Washington state executive offices
Seattle is a city in King County, Washington. As of 2013, its population was 652,405.[1]

City government

See also: Mayor-council government

The city of Seattle utilizes a "strong mayor" and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.[2]


The mayor serves as the city's chief executive, and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. Ed Murray is the current Mayor of Seattle.[2]

City council

The Seattle City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[2]


Seattle's city council has nine members. A list of current members can be found here.

For most of Seattle's recent history, all nine council members were elected at-large. In 2013, however, Seattle voters approved Proposed Charter Amendment No. 19. This amendment created seven new districts within the city, which are responsible for electing seven council members. Two council members are still elected at-large.

The transition from at-large voting to district-based voting will take place in conjunction with the November 2015 elections. All nine city council seats will be up for election. The seven district members will serve four year terms. Initially, the two at-large members will serve two year terms; but after 2017, they will serve four year terms. A map of Seattle's seven districts can be seen below. For more information on Proposed Charter Amendment No. 19, visit the Seattle city clerk's office.

Seattle City Council districts.jpg

Council committees

The Seattle City Council features a total of twenty standing and ad hoc committees, which focus on individual policy and legislative issues. Generally, the drafting of city legislation begins with the committees.[3]

For a list of Seattle's committees and committee members, see here.

Boards and commissions

A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Seattle City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[4]

For a full list of Seattle city boards and commissions, see here.



See also: Seattle, Washington municipal elections, 2015

The city of Seattle, Washington will hold elections for city council on November 3, 2015. A primary will take place on August 4, 2015. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election is May 15, 2015. Because of the establishment of new districts in 2013, all nine city council seats - seven districts and two at-large - are up for election.[5][6]


Seattle's adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2014 was $4.4 billion.[7]

Contact information

Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor
Seattle, Washington 98104
Phone: (206) 684-8344

See here to contact the mayor's office.

See here to contact individual council members.

Ballot measures

See also: King County, Washington ballot measures

The city of Seattle is in King County. A list of ballot measures in King County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Washington

Seattle is a first class charter city and, according to the July 2011 Census update, possesses a population of 620,778.[8] Signature requirement is 10% of the total number of votes cast for the office of Mayor at the last preceding municipal election; 20% to force a special election. Prior to circulation for signatures, such petition shall be filed with the city clerk in the form prescribed by ordinance, and by such officer assigned a serial number, dated, and approved or rejected as to form. The petition form requirements are in Seattle Municipal Code, 2.08.010 to .040. Petitions must be filed with the clerk within 180 days of form approval. After certification, the council has 45 days to adopt or shall submit at the next regularly scheduled election, irrespective of whether it is a state or municipal election or a primary or general election; but the city council may in its discretion designate submission be at a general election rather than a primary or call an earlier special election. If signatures equal 20% a special election shall be called within 60 days.

DocumentIcon.jpg Seattle Charter, Art. VI, Sec. 1 Seattle Code, Title 2


In 2013, Seattle's federal lobbying related expenses amounted to approximately $80,000.[9] The issues for which the city filed in 2013, as well as the number of reports, can be seen in the box below. The issues column lists the generic issues that lobbyists working for local governments are required by law to disclose on quarterly federal disclosure forms.[10][11] The reports column gives the number of reports lobbyists filed in regards to each generic issue. To learn more about the details of the specific issues for which Seattle filed reports, read the federal disclosure forms by clicking the "Issues" links in the box below.

Federal Lobbying Issues, 2013
Reports Issues
4 Fed Budget & Appropriations
4 Marine, Boats & Fisheries
4 Transportation

Website evaluation

Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Lobbying P
Public Records
Local Taxes

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Elected officials
    • City council members are listed with contact and term information.[12]
    • Other elected officials are listed with phone numbers and an email form.[13]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, and videos are posted.[14]
    • Agendas[15] and minutes[16] are archived.
  • Administration
    • A city staff directory is posted.[17]
  • Budget
    • Budgets are posted.[18]
    • Budgets are archived for at least three years.
  • Audits
    • Audits are posted.[19]
    • Audits are archived for at least three years.
  • Contracts
    • Bid opportunities and contracts are posted.[20]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning[21] and building permit information is posted.[22]
  • Taxes
    • Property tax levy information posted.[23]
    • Business tax rates are posted.[24]
  • Public records
    • Information on, procedures, and contacts are posted for making public records requests.[25]
  • Lobbying
    • Information on private lobbyists lobbying the city is provided.[26]

The bad

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. U.S. Census, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on September 15, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 City of Seattle, "Elected Officials," accessed on September 15, 2014
  3. City of Seattle, "Seattle City Council Committees, 2013-14," accessed on August 29, 2014
  4. City of Seattle, "Boards and Commissions," accessed on August 18, 2014
  5. City of Seattle, "Law, Rules and Information for Filers," accessed September 19, 2014
  6. City of Seattle, "Seattle City Council Districts," accessed December 31, 2014
  7. City of Seattle: Finance Department, "2014 Adopted Budget," accessed on September 15, 2014
  8. US Census, "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011," accessed on October 29, 2014
  9. Open Secrets, "City of Seattle, WA," accessed on September 15, 2014
  10. U.S. House of Representatives: Office of the Clerk, "Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance," accessed on November 11, 2014
  11. Open Secrets, "Methodology," accessed on November 11, 2014
  12. City of Seattle, "City Council," accessed on September 15, 2014
  13. City of Seattle, "Other Elected Officials," accessed on September 15, 2014
  14. City of Seattle, "Minutes and Agendas," accessed on September 15, 2014
  15. City of Seattle, "Agenda Archives," accessed on September 15, 2014
  16. City of Seattle, "Minutes archives," accessed on September 15, 2014
  17. City of Seattle, "Staff Directory," accessed on September 15, 2014
  18. City of Seattle, "Budget," accessed on September 15, 2014
  19. City of Seattle, "CAFRs," accessed on September 15, 2014
  20. City of Seattle, "Purchasing," accessed on September 15, 2014
  21. City of Seattle, "Land Use Planning," accessed on September 15, 2014
  22. City of Seattle, "Permits," accessed on September 15, 2014
  23. City of Seattle, "Property Taxes," accessed on September 15, 2014
  24. City of Seattle, "Taxes," accessed on September 15, 2014
  25. City of Seattle, "Public Disclosure," accessed on September 15, 2014
  26. City of Seattle, "Lobbyists," accessed on September 15, 2014