The King County Council unanimously adopted the 2019-2020 county $11.7 billion dollar budget.
The budget's passage came after nearly two months of deliberation and review of the proposal delivered from the County Executive in September. The budget is headlined by an array of key measures:
The restoration of the gang unit, a vital law enforcement tool an communities affected by gang violence.
Increasing shelter space for the homeless while increasing oversight of funding for programs.
Taking steps to implement a low/no-cost transit fares for Metro’s lowest-income passengers with the goal of having the program in place by 2020.
Providing funds to help meet the region’s growing transit needs, including 200,000 hours in increased bus service throughout King County. There are also funds to study new transit options, including Seattle ferry services to and from Renton and Kenmore.
Examining the impact of the wastewater system on orcas and salmon.
Council member Kathy Lambert shared a summary of parts of the budget relevant to unincorporated King County, "This year I chaired the Local Services Excellence Panel and the thing that I am most proud of there is the setting up of the Department of Local Services. There will be a focus on local services for unincorporated residents. Unincorporated residents deserve to have a government that is devoted directly to them, close to them, and monitoring that their needs are being met. The goal is to also be the Best Run Local Government!"
Here are some important steps taken in this budget to accomplish that goal:
Developed a “Permitting ABC Program” to make it easier for those getting their land use into compliance with the laws.
Launched a process to determine how to site local service providers closer to unincorporated area residents.
Invested unprecedented funding into unincorporated area economic development. A new Economic Development position within the department will work closely with existing businesses and prospective business owners to help them through the hurdles of owning a business in the unincorporated area.
Directed the Roads Services Division to develop a plan for increasing snow plow routes. Historically, many critical roads are left unplowed in the unincorporated area.
Created a new position in the Sheriff’s office solely to expedite the hiring of new officers.
Additional funding in the Sheriff’s office to provide them with additional safety equipment to aid them during patrols.
The Sheriff will also develop a report on how we can implement a community policing model in unincorporated areas that will allow deputies to have more visibility and collaboration with residents.