Budget Talk: Crossing the Finish Line

In my last blog post, I described the County’s budget process as feeling like diving into the deep end of the pool.  In the past three weeks, my colleagues on the Budget Leadership Team (Budget Chair Dave Upthegrove, Rod Dembowski, and Kathy Lambert) and I have swum the length of the pool and it’s time to assess how well we did.  Throughout the collaborative process with my colleagues, I weighed each proposal against my personal commitment to provide core County services efficiently and well, to respond to the needs of residents, as we heard directly from them during our public outreach, and to respond to the most urgent needs of the day.  Continue reading

Budget Talk: Diving Deep

The County’s budget process can feel like diving into the deep end of a very deep pool, but it is almost time to start swimming.  In week two of our budget panels, we are reviewing everything the 731-page, $11B proposed County budget contains, what it does and what it doesn’t do.

In some ways, King County is like a huge conglomerate, with widely different lines of business, including and courts and jails, roads and transit, public health and human services, elections and tax assessments, and utilities – all on top of providing the full range of local government services to the 240,000+ residents of unincorporated King County.  And, as I touched upon last week, our funding sources and allowed legal uses are even more complex than our government structure and web of services.

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Budget Talk: What I’m Hearing

Last week, we began our review of the $11 billion Proposed Budget for the 2017/2018 biennium.  Throughout our process, the Council will evaluate hundreds of proposals across the government, from increasing the property tax levy supporting the County’s walk-on ferry system, to what new behavioral health programs to fund, to adding 300,000 services hours to Metro Transit, among many other issues.  Continue reading