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November 23, 2021

News
$672 million supplemental budget, funding climate projects, gun violence reduction and key service restorations approved by King County Council

The King County Council on Tuesday approved a $672 million supplemental budget.

The King County Council on Tuesday approved a $672 million supplemental budget. The approved 2021 mid-biennial supplemental adds funding for climate equity projects, gun violence reduction, bus service restorations, tiny home villages, waterfront shuttle service, bike helmet awareness, economic recovery, and much more.

Councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the budget.

“Over the past two years, we’ve been able to make important and equitable investments in public health, transit, housing, and public safety, and this mid-biennial budget continues these across the County,” said Councilmember and Budget Chair Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “These new investments will be transformative for folks whose jobs are being restored, individuals who will be able to obtain shelter and permanent supportive housing, those living with mental illness and drug dependency or in need of opioid addiction services, and for families utilizing the Best Starts for Kids programs. And new climate equity projects will support those disproportionately impacted by climate change. As we close out our last budget of 2021, I continue to be appreciative of the creativity and dedication of my colleagues at the Council, as well as Executive Constantine and his team, in our response and recovery initiatives in meeting the extraordinary challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as a serious recession.”

With more promising revenue forecasts since adoption of the 2021-22 biennial budget last November, the Council was able to restore a number of cuts that were made at the time, including in the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency program, in public transit and more.

The following are some key investments in the adopted budget:

  • $4 million to restore reductions and eliminate furloughs for 2022 which were included in last November’s 2021-2022 adopted biennial budget to meet target reductions due to the recession;
  • $20 million of Climate Equity Capital bond funds for projects identified with community partners to support frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change and increase opportunities for those communities to benefit from emissions reductions and energy efficiency;
  • $3.1 million for expanded **regional gun violence and peacekeeping **efforts, including additional community outreach, violence interrupters, and life coaches;
  • $4.3 million for the new adult felony Community Diversion Program, including resources for a loss recovery fund that provides financial supports for harmed parties; assessment and referral staff; and community-based service contracts;
  • $4 million in underspent funds for hiring and retention bonuses for commissioned King County Sheriff’s officers to help fill open positions in furthering public safety;
  • $17.4 million in **Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) **to restore program cuts and some program expansion;
  • $126 million for **Best Starts for Kids (BSK) **funds, consistent with the passage of the renewed BSK levy by voters in August 2020 and the implementation plan;
  • $18.6 million for **bus service restorations **including 241,000 more transit service hours and flexible services increases; and
  • $80.5 million for accelerating the planned appropriation for building electric bus charging capacity for 105 battery electric buses at Metro's Interim Base, an Access electric vehicle pilot, and base electrification planning.

Full details of the budget can be found online here.

Additional quotes:

Councilmember and Vice Chair of Budget and Fiscal Management Committee Rod Dembowski: “I’m very pleased with the significant investment this budget makes in speeding up our bus electrification initiative, as well as an initial climate bond for important capital projects to address climate change and its impacts. We must do a lot more, and do it more quickly to address climate change and I hope we can send to the voters a major climate bond proposal in 2022 that builds on this initial work.”

Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn: “I am glad the Council has taken an important first step to improving public safety in King County by providing $4 million for retention and hiring bonuses for King County Sheriff deputies as well as a recruiting officer. Together, these investments will help us hire and keep quality law enforcement officers. Given the severe staffing shortages that the Sheriff’s Office is experiencing, this funding is necessary to provide basic level of public safety services for our residents. While this is a step in the right direction to rebuild our law enforcement, the Council must continue the necessary work of re-investing in our Sheriff’s Office and in the safety of our residents.”

Councilmember Kathy Lambert: “I support a budget that continues to build on our economic development, COVID recovery, and public safety. King County residents rightfully expect a high level of service from the Sheriff’s office. The investments adopted include an opportunity to recruit and fill the 59 vacancies that will help make sure that the Sheriff is appropriately staffed and continue to provide the level of service that residents have grown accustomed too. Budgets often focus on the major investments, however this budget includes some very impactful small investments as well. For example, this budget will help create an inventory of privately owned sole-access roadways to aid in emergency planning. While small, this project will improve emergency planning efforts and help make sure all residents of the county can have more tools that help will be available if it is ever needed.”

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September 30, 2021

News
Executive’s mid-biennial budget invests in Climate Equity, expanding regional gun violence prevention efforts, and accelerating Metro bus electrification

King County Executive Dow Constantine's proposed $617 million mid-biennial supplemental budget – transmitted to the King County Council today – includes $20 million for Climate Equity bonds for projects supporting frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Other notable investments in the budget include:

  • $65.8 million to accelerate Metro bus electrification from 2040 to 2035, including investments in base electrification and electrification of Water Taxis and Access vehicles.
  • $20 million of Climate Equity bond funds for projects identified with community partners to support frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change and increase opportunities for those communities to benefit from emissions reductions and energy efficiency.
  • $3.1 million for expanded regional gun violence and peacekeeping efforts, including additional community outreach, violence interrupters, and life coaches.
  • $4.3 million for the new adult felony Community Diversion Program, including resources for a loss recovery fund that provides financial supports for harmed parties; assessment and referral staff; and community-based service contracts.
  • $17.3 million in Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) to restore program cuts and some program expansion driven by increased sales tax revenue projections.
  • $5.5 million to accelerate work on culvert replacement and sidewalks in lower-income neighborhoods in unincorporated King County funded by additional excise tax funds.
  • Restoration of undesignated fund balance in the General Fund to 8% and the Rainy Day Reserve in the MIDD Fund to 60 days due to increased sales tax projections.
  • Appropriation of an additional $126.6 million for Best Starts for Kids (BSK) funds, consistent with the passage of the BSK levy by King County voters in August and the implementation plan.
  • $45 million for the preservation of over 1,900 acres of open space throughout King County.
  • $1.5 million to expand access to dental care for low-income, uninsured adults in King County regardless of citizenship status, funding 4,000 to 5,000 dental visits at community health centers.
  • $1.4 million for investments in the Office of Equity and Social Justice supporting community engagement, disability equity, and Office policy and operations; this includes the use of one-time funds from the City of Seattle to support the Coalition Against Hate and Bias.

"The past two years have proved what we've been saying: That we can’t wait – not on climate, not on early childhood education, and not on remaking public safety - and the investments in this budget will create a more equitable, just, prosperous King County,” said Executive Constantine. “We are focusing our funds on making transportation more efficient and accessible, ramping up Mental Illness and Drug Dependency treatment, prioritizing our environment through preservation and climate equity bonds, and investing in King County’s future."

The proposal also includes the restoration of reserves in the General Fund, Diversion Program fundsfor the imminent start of the program, and deployment of REET funds for the acceleration of culvert replacements and sidewalks in low-income neighborhoods.

The proposed supplemental budget was transmitted to the County Council on Sept 30. The mid-biennial budget is used to adjust the Council adopted 2021-2022 $12 billion budget and generally reflect changed circumstances such as revised revenue forecasts, new grants, and updated opportunities.

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March 24, 2021

News
Executive Constantine proposes $600 million American Rescue Plan budget – public health, community supports, jobs and economic recovery

King County Executive Dow Constantine today transmitted a $600 million spending plan to the King County Council, funded in part by the American Rescue Plan. Executive Constantine’s priorities include continuing the public health response and increasing vaccinations; community supports and anti-racist-work; economic recovery with a new program that promotes access to jobs and housing supports.

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November 3, 2020

News
Executive Constantine releases statement on approval of Harborview bond measure

King County Executive Dow Constantine released the following statement on the $1.74 billion Harborview Medical Center bond measure after King County Elections posted that it was passing by 77 percent of the vote in early returns.

"While there are still many votes to be counted, I thank the voters of King County for their support for Harborview Medical Center. These investments will ensure that our region continues to be the best place in the country to receive emergency medical care, and needed seismic upgrades will protect the lives of patients, employees, and visitors to Harborview. Besides helping people with behavioral health needs and better preparing the region to fight pandemics, the measure creates thousands of family-wage construction jobs at a time when our region needs them the most.

"Every generation has stepped up to support Harborview Medical Center. I am proud that this generation is no different."

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