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Metropolitan King County Council

Earning public trust, enhancing quality of life, protecting public health and safety
Metropolitan King County Council
516 Third Ave., Rm. 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-1000
Toll Free: 800-325-6165
TTY/TDD: 206-296-1024
Fax: 206-296-0198

council@kingcounty.gov
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May 2, 2011

Council sends renewal of Veterans and Human Services Levy to the voters

Proposal sent to August primary ballot

The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved legislation sending the King County Veterans and Human Services Levy to the voters at the August primary election.

“The King County Veterans and Human Services has been unanimously approved by the Regional Policy Committee, the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, and finally by the full Council,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, who sponsored both the original legislation that sent the Veterans and Human Services Levy to the ballot in 2005 and the current proposal. “The issue now goes to the voters in August to decide if they want to continue investing in our veterans and human services.”

“Voters will be given the opportunity to decide whether they want to continue forward with the current levy, in which half of the proceeds would be dedicated exclusively for programs to assist veterans and their families,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, who has served in the U.S. Army.

“This is the reauthorization of an existing levy, which has served thousands of people and veterans throughout King County over the last six years,” said King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “It is now up to the people of King County whether this program is to continue.”

If approved by the voters, the measure would continue the existing levy for an additional six years at the current rate of 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Consistent with the current levy, half of the proceeds would be dedicated exclusively for programs to assist veterans and their families. The other half would support general human service programs available to all King County residents.

“With today’s vote, the people of King County will have the final say on this levy, just as they did six years ago,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett.

“The Council is giving voters the option to continue services that support our veterans and assists in providing human service programs for many in our region,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague.

“The County Council’s vote today gives King County citizens the opportunity to decide on whether we should continue our current investment in human services for veterans and others in need,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips.

The ballot measure sets the same initial rate as the original 2005 Veterans and Human Services Levy, which was approved by County voters in 2005. The ballot measure specifies that levy growth will be tied to inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, with a floor of 1 percent and a ceiling of 3 percent.

“The Council conducted a thorough process to assess the effectiveness of the existing levy, and the vote was unanimous to send this renewal proposal to the ballot,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, Vice Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “I appreciate the work of staff and the volunteers who serve on the two citizens levy oversight committees in evaluating this proposal, as well as the testimony from members of the public.”

“The Veterans and Human Services Levy is one of the only dedicated funding sources left in King County to aid the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott. “People rely on it for their wellbeing.”

The 2005 Veterans and Human Services Levy will expire on December 31, 2011.