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

Metro Connects: 25 Year Look Ahead

metro-connects-logoKing County Metro, the backbone of our public transit network, is currently working through its Long Range Plan, “Metro Connects.” This document looks 25 years into the future and envisions a day when 75% of King County residents live within walking distance of accessible, reliable, and fast transit service. Continue reading

Council Approves Best Starts for Kids Plan

 

Best Starts for KidsOn September 19th, the Council unanimously approved the Best Starts for Kids (BSK) implementation plan, which will govern how the $380 million collected over the six years of the levy will be spent.  With this vote, King County and its residents embarked upon a unique and ambitious effort to change the trajectory of our community by investing in our youngest residents and their futures. Continue reading

2016 Comp Plan Update

Every four years, the County updates its Comprehensive Plan.  The Comp Plan, as it is known, is the second largest policy document adopted by the Council, after the biennial budget, and it has been an important component of the Council’s work this year, appearing at 14 separate meetings.  It contains policies that guide development and land use in the unincorporated areas of the county, as well as how services are provided for unincorporated residents.  Continue reading

The Sammamish Valley’s Growing Wine Industry

Sammamish Valley Lavender FieldsIn March this year, the County Executive kicked off a study of the wine and beverage industry in the Sammamish River Valley, which is located between Redmond and Woodinville. The study is an effort to resolve conflicts that have arisen between the rapidly growing wine industry and the agricultural tradition and zoning in the Sammamish Valley.  After a four-month stakeholder process, the draft consultant report is now available.
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Immigrant & Refugee Task Force

King County’s growth has been driven by the foreign born immigrant population for the past 25 years. Now, a quarter of the county’s residents speak a language other than English at home. Last year, King County adopted an ordinance creating an Immigrant and Refugee Task Force to help expand access to services and opportunities for our immigrant residents.

The Immigrant and Refugee Task Force completed its work and gave its final recommendations to the Council on Monday, August 15th. The report summarized the 10 month planning process, which included representation from local immigrant leaders and the refugee community. The report also exposed how diverse our region has become in recent years.

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District 6 PSRC Funded Projects

psrcThe Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) Executive Board approved a list for federally funded grants to be allocated towards projects in and around the Eastside. This action provides millions of dollars in funding to projects throughout the district and King County, including projects in Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland.

Here’s a sampling of District 6 (and just outside D6) projects: Continue reading