Barn Again

barn-again

King County’s “Barn Again” program provides grants to preserve historic barns and outbuildings that reflect our agriculture heritage.  In 2016, six barns, three milk houses, one milking parlor and one chicken house located in eastern and southern rural areas have received Barn Again grants totaling more than $235,000.  The next round of grants is coming up this Spring!  If you have a barn or outbuilding that is historically associated with the working life of a farm, please consider applying!  Continue reading

CM Balducci Statement on Mercer Island/Sound Transit Litigation

For the last decade, I have worked to connect the eastside to the regional light rail system being built by Sound Transit.  I supported funding for light rail via the ST2 ballot measure which was approved by voters in 2008.  Through 2015, as both an elected official and an appointed Sound Transit Board member, I worked on behalf of the City of Bellevue to plan the light rail alignment and to adopt appropriate plans and regulations to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this major regional transportation investment.  Now, as a County Councilmember, I represent much of the eastside, including Mercer Island, as construction of Eastlink light rail begins in earnest.  Through it all, I have remained a strong proponent of the importance of providing true mass transit to our growing eastside.  Continue reading

ICYMI: Legislative Appointments

One of the responsibilities of the County Council is to appoint replacements to fill legislative positions that become vacant before the end of the regular term.  The law requires that when a mid-term vacancy occurs in the state legislature, the local district from the political party that has held the office selects three candidates for appointment.   The initial selection is made by the precinct committee officers (PCOs) from the legislative district, which are then approved by the countywide party organization and forwarded to the County Council for a final selection and vote.  Traditionally, but not always, the candidate with the most PCO votes is selected for the appointment.  These are important decisions, with a potentially large impact on the legislature and the residents of King County.

Congratulating newly appointed Representative Vandana Slatter on January 5, 2017

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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