$8.9 Billion proposal will be assessed with goal of November adoption
StoryFour members of the Metropolitan King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee will direct the Council’s deliberation of the proposed King County Budget delivered today by County Executive Dow Constantine.
“King County continues to face a massive budget shortfall in our General Fund which limits our ability to make wise investments that will save money in the long-run. That’s why I’m pleased the Executive announced that he will lead an effort to develop a levy to make the wisest investment possible – in our kids,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “I appreciate the hard choices Executive Constantine made while developing his budget. My council colleagues and I will now begin our review, continuing the Executive’s efforts to ensure our government is running as efficiently as possible.”
The proposed budget introduced today by County Executive Dow Constantine is King County’s first biennial (two-year) budget for all county agencies, including those contained within the County General Fund. After the budget is adopted, it will be updated as needed over the two-year period.
The Executive’s proposal would bring the County’s total spending in the 2015-2016 biennium to a total of $8.9 billion. The proposed budget includes a $1.5 billion General Fund budget, three-quarters of which is targeted for law, justice and public safety services.
All nine members of the Council serve on the Budget Committee during budget negotiations with Councilmember McDermott as Chair of the committee. For the 2015-2016 budget deliberations, three Councilmembers will direct panels that will review all aspects of the Executive Proposed Budget:
Council Vice Chair Jane Hague will chair the Health, Human Services and Internal Services Panel. This panel will review budgets located in the Departments of Public Health, Community and Human Service and also our internal service agencies.
“I will continue my work on making the General Fund more sustainable and focus on minimizing overhead rates to increase service,” said Hague.
Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who is also the Vice Chair of the Budget Committee, will lead the General Fund and General Government Panel. That panel will be responsible for evaluating budgets from the County’s general fund agencies – including public safety budgets – and other core governmental services that are located outside of the general fund.
“I’m looking forward to robust discussions regarding budget priorities. My goal is to make sure that we are funding the items most necessary for our citizens’ well-being; especially public safety!” said Lambert. “We need to also do a local government budget as we are their only government and need to meet their service needs.”
Councilmember Dave Upthegrove will chair the Physical Environment Panel. It will direct the Council’s assessment of budgets located in the departments of Transportation, Permitting and Environmental Review and Natural Resources and Parks.
“Bus service is the most important thing King County does to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion,” said Upthegrove. “My job during the next several weeks is to ensure that every available penny is being used to keep buses on the road. I am excited to get to work.”
The Council’s review of the County budget will start on Wednesday, October 1 when the Budget 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 7.
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 2015-2016 Budget page, Facebook and Twitter (#KCBudget).
Traditionally, the Council adopts the County Budget before Thanksgiving.