The members of the Metropolitan King County Council’s 2013 Budget Leadership Team said today deliberations for the 2013 King County Budget will reflect the goals and ideas of the King County Strategic Plan and a commitment to equity and social justice.
“King County has a long-standing tradition of collaborative budget development. By working together, we will write a budget that meets our current fiscal challenges with an eye to the future,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee and leader of the Budget Leadership Team. “We will think critically and call on the principles of the Strategic Plan and Equity and Social Justice Initiative to inform our work.”
McDermott will be joined on the 2013 Budget Leadership Team by Councilmembers Kathy Lambert, who will serve as Vice Chair of the Leadership Team, Council Vice Chair Jane Hague and Councilmember Julia Patterson.
“Preserving our county roads is a priority for King County, as the provider of local government services for more than a quarter-million residents in the unincorporated areas,” said Lambert, who represents northeast King County. “As more urban areas of the county are annexed into cities, the remaining tax base for unincorporated roads is reduced, while the long stretches of rural roadway still need to be maintained. We need to find a short-term fix to keep our road maintenance at sufficient levels while we work with the state and federal governments on a long-term, sustainable funding mechanism to solve the ongoing funding gap in our roads budget.”
“This is the second year we have used the strategic plan. While the budget has only increased half of one percent we have economized, prioritized and reformed,” said Hague. “We will provide the same services much more efficiently-we own our problems and are doing something about it.”
“Through the Council's budget review process we will prioritize our fair and just principles ensuring all communities have the opportunity to thrive,” said Patterson, who directed the Council’s review of the 2012 budget. “I know the Executive, as well as the people of King County, share this value and our job is to make sure it's reflected in our budget.”
In 2010, the County Council adopted the King County Strategic Plan (KCSP)—a comprehensive and collaborative approach to reform County Government. Later that year, the Council adopted its Fair and Just Ordinance integrating the equity and social justice programs—which are focused on eliminating long-standing and persistent inequities and social injustices into the operations of the County. The Budget Leadership Team is committed to ensuring that the 2013 Budget Councilmembers will vote on in November will be the first in which both are an integral part of the final proposal.
As the County continues its transition to biennial budgeting, County Executive Dow Constantine today proposed a hybrid annual/biennial $7.6 billion budget. The annual spending in the proposed budget is the same as the $4.4 billion 2012 budget. The proposed budget includes a $684 million General Fund budget, three-quarters of which is targeted for law, justice and public safety services.
Councilmember McDermott said the Council will review the Executive Budget Proposal in two separate panels:
• Councilmember Kathy Lambert will direct the Public Safety and Physical Environment Panel. The panel will assess the Executive’s proposed budgets for law, justice and public safety agencies along with the departments of Community & Health Services, Transportation, Natural Resources and Parks and Public Health.
• Council Vice Chair Jane Hague will lead the General Government Panel, which will be responsible for General Fund budgets such as Assessments and Elections, and the County’s internal service funds like Facilities Management, Human Resources and Finance.
The panels will begin their review of the Executive Proposed Budget on Wednesday, October 3. All members of the County Council serve on the Budget Committee during the annual review and adoption of the County budget. Traditionally, the Council adopts the County budget before Thanksgiving.
Also starting on Wednesday, October 3, Councilmember McDermott and the Budget Leadership Team will host three evening public hearings on the 2013 Executive Proposed Budget:
• Wednesday, October 3- Maleng Regional Justice Center, Courtroom 3F, 401 4th Avenue North, Kent
• Wednesday, October 10 – Bellevue City Hall, City Council Chambers , 450 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue
• Wednesday, October 17 – King County Courthouse, County Council Chambers, 10th Flr, 516 Third Avenue, Seattle
The public hearings begin at 6:30 p.m. Day-after coverage of the public hearings will be available both online and on King County TV, seen on Comcast and Broadstripe Cable Channel 22. You can also sign up to follow and comment on the deliberations through the Council’s 2012 Budget web page, Facebook and Twitter (#KCBudget).