Balducci and Dembowski help lead Council’s budget development, preserving public safety, expanding transportation options, addressing homelessness and affordable housing, limiting property tax increases, and investing in Eastside community recreation improvements
StoryMetropolitan King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci and Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski helped craft the final budget for King County, including new investments in public safety, housing and homelessness support, transportation, county infrastructure, and youth and family recreation.
“After starting the year with a $50 million general fund deficit, I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on the Budget Leadership Team and in the Executive branch to retain critical County services,” said Balducci. “We retained services like the Sheriff’s air support and marine patrol units, expanded funding for alternative bus services like the routes currently serving Mercer Island and Redmond, and provided funding and staffing to combat homelessness and to convene a regional collaboration on housing affordability.”
“My top priority in this budget was to increase shelter and affordable housing to make a serious dent in our region’s homelessness crisis,” Dembowski said. “With $7 million of historic new investments to meaningfully tackle homelessness and serve our most vulnerable neighbors, we are delivering on that goal.”
The Council’s proposed budget restores public safety funding that was previously threatened with cuts due to a funding shortfall, including:
• $1.43 million to restore the King County Search and Rescue Helicopter which supports local police in apprehending fugitives as well as stranded hikers in the Cascades
• $945,000 to restore the King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit, which protects the lives and safety of boaters on Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish and the county’s many rivers
In addition, the Council budget will benefit the Eastside by including new grant opportunities to promote youth and family sports, including $2 million for a potential new aquatic and athletic center planned to serve Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond. Other new grants for the Eastside to support programs that help young people and older adults get and stay active over the next two years include:
• $150,000 for improvements to regional trails such as the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River Trails
• $100,000 for user improvements on the Eastside Rail Corridor
The Council budget also devotes significant new and continued funding to priorities like transportation, housing and human services:
• $15million for alternative-service bus lines, to serve areas that are not easily or well-served by traditional fixed route bus lines
• Decreased match requirements to make bus tickets more available to clients of human service agencies like Hopelink and the YWCA
• $5.9 million for designated shelters in and around downtown Seattle
• $1 million to partner with communities outside of Seattle to provide shelter
• Funding for a new position to conduct regional housing affordability planning in collaboration with cities, nonprofits, and private partners.
• Restored funding for critical human service providers in the areas of domestic violence prevention, senior services and civil legal aid, including preserving full funding for valued Eastside service providers like the Eastside Legal Assistance Program
Dembowski and Balducci served on the Council’s Budget Leadership Team directing the Council’s budget deliberations.
Having joined the King County Council in 2013, Rod Dembowski represents District 1, which includes the communities of Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, North Seattle, Shoreline, and Woodinville.
Having joined the King County Council in 2016, Claudia Balducci represents District 6 on the King County Council, including all or parts of the cities of Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville and the Points Communities.