Delivery of last annual budgets has Council focusing on long-term planning
StoryWith an eye to the future and a commitment to equity and social justice, the 2014 King County budget deliberations began today. The Council’s deliberations will focus on long-term policy issues given the transition to biennial budgets.
“I thank Executive Constantine for his budget proposal. We will continue to work together to ensure that the County delivers services in an efficient and cost effective manner. The County Council will use the County’s strategic plan and Equity and Social Justice Initiative as a guide. These policies will help to ensure that possible service reductions will not disproportionately affect some communities in our region,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “The Budget Leadership Team and I are eager to begin this work on behalf of the more than 2 million residents of King County.”
McDermott will be joined on the 2014 Budget Leadership Team by Councilmembers Kathy Lambert, who will serve as Vice Chair of the Leadership Team, Council Vice Chair Jane Hague and Councilmember Larry Phillips.
“I am looking forward to beginning our budget deliberation process by setting up a more transparent and complete budget process for local government and law and justice issues,” said Lambert. “We will continue to prioritize all our responsibilities while respecting our role as the local government for those who live in the unincorporated areas of the county.”
“The 2014 Budget proposal allows for stability of many of the services King County residents rely on—a welcome relief from the service cuts and layoffs of years prior,” said Phillips. “We must continue to find ways to make King County’s budget sustainable into the future, so the people of King County can count on access to mobility, public safety, public health, and a human services safety net.”
“Our priority continues to be delivering quality services that keep King County prosperous, safe and healthy,” said Hague.
As the County completes its transition to biennial budgeting, the 2014 budget proposed today by County Executive Dow Constantine will include the County’s last annual budget. Last year, the County Council adopted a biennial budget for all major county agencies, except for those contained within the County General fund. These biennial budgets will be updated where necessary, and the County will adopt a final annual budget for the county’s general fund. The Executive’s proposal would bring the County’s total spending in the 2013-2014 biennium to a total of $9 billion. The proposed budget includes a $714 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 Larry Phillips will direct the General Government and Physical Environment Panel. The panel will assess the budgets of agencies such as Assessments and Elections, the County’s internal service funds like Facilities Management, Human Resources and Technology and Finance, as well as the Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources & Parks.
• Councilmember Kathy Lambert will lead the Public Safety, Health and Human Services Panel, which will discuss those budgets primarily within our criminal justice system and the departments of Community & Health Services and Public Health.
All members of the County Council serve on the Budget Committee during the annual review and adoption of the County budget, which will start on Wednesday, October 2 when the Committee will hear from the County’s separately elected officials on their proposed budgets. The budget panels will begin their review of the Executive Proposed Budget on Tuesday, October 8.
All budget meetings in chambers will be shown LIVE online and on King County TV, seen on Comcast and Wave Cable Channel 22. You can also sign up to follow the deliberations on the Council’s 2014 Budget page, Facebook and Twitter (#KCBudget).
Traditionally, the Council adopts the County Budget before Thanksgiving.