More than $1M for District Four neighborhood centers, senior centers and sports facilities
The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously approved its new biennial budget on Monday, November 14. The budget prioritizes core services and will lead to immediate, new investments in combating homelessness and improving public safety.
Included in the $11.4 Billion package are the creation of a new homelessness navigation center on county-owned property, restoration of funding for vital regional services such as the Sheriff's Search & Rescue air and marine units, and expansion of transit service throughout King County. The County Council also increased funding for additional sheriff deputies in unincorporated areas, homeless services, Best Starts for Kids implementation and additional human service programs.
Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles spearheaded the successful efforts to obtain and increase funding for several priority programs for her constituents in Council District Four and residents county-wide.
“As Chair of the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, I’m extremely pleased we were able to increase funding for public health,” said Kohl-Welles. “We will fund a new program to screen for lead poisoning, especially in children, and will be able to hire an epidemiologist to focus on combatting communicable diseases,.” said Kohl-Welles.
The need for an additional epidemiologist is especially critical right now, due to the steep increase in communicable disease outbreaks in King County. Just in the last few years, we King County has ve seen two simultaneous hospital-acquired legionella outbreaks; an increase in active Tuberculosis (TB) cases among the homeless population; and an increase in exposure to viral infections at hospitals, including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Children’s Hospital and the CDC are currently investigating a cluster of Acute Flaccid Myletis (AFM). Public Health of Seattle-King County has also been dealing with increased requests for Zika virus testing.
The need to constantly respond to new outbreaks has severely stressed our the Public Health system, and as such decreases its ability to focus on prevention activities such as promoting immunizations and infection control training.
In addition to public health, Kohl-Welles secured increased funding for court interpreters; funding for a study to combat human trafficking and economic exploitation; funding for the Tenant’s Union (homelessness prevention); and additional funding for promoting arts and cultural projects, particularly in underserved areas and to implement equity and social justice goals.
Kohl-Welles also secured $35,000 for the Ballard Senior Center’s ongoing operations and activities. She also procured more than $1 million for 16 recreational facilities throughout District Four. The funding is for a variety of needs, including capital improvements, field renovations, pools, gym and sports equipment, and programming and activities for seniors. The funding includes $200,000 to renovate the Ballard and Gilman Playfields, both slated for closure due to extreme disrepair, even though they are used for league play. Other facilities and organizations that will receive funding include some Boys & Girls Clubs, neighborhood community centers and senior centers, as well as the Small Faces Center, the Center for Wooden Boats and Smith Cove Park field in Magnolia. A full list is below.
Kohl-Welles also worked to increase access to transit for low-income residents. “We were able to include a proviso requesting a report from Metro assessing options for creating a fare for very low-income people,” said Kohl-Welles. “I also introduced – and the Council adopted – an ordinance lowering the cost human services organizations pay for the bus tickets they give out to clients, freeing up funds these organizations can use for services such as food, shelter and medical care.”
Councilmember Kohl-Welles Budget Additions for Council District Four
Approximately $1.2M directed to District Four organizations and facilities for recreation and amateur sports
1. Small Faces Child Development Center ($150K for playground, gym, and sports court update)
2. Wallingford Boys & Girls Club ($100K for gym repair & sports equipment)
3. North Seattle Boys & Girls Club ($45K for gym repair & sports equipment)
4. Wallingford Senior Center ($22K for homeless senior programming & recreation programs)
5. Pike Place Senior Center ($25K for yoga, exercise mats, & programming)
6. Greenwood Senior Center ($5K for fitness programming for seniors)
7. Ballard Senior Center ($5K for sports & recreation equipment)
9. Phinney Neighborhood Association ($150K for playground improvements & equipment)
10. Center for Wooden Boats ($60K for vessel overhaul & capital improvements)
11. Queen Anne Community Center ($20K for gym improvements & equipment)
12. Loyal Heights Community Center ($15K for sports and recreation equipment)
13. Smith Cove Park ($250K for field renovations)
14. North Acres Ballfield ($30K for drainage improvements)
15. Ballard Playground and Gilman Playground ($200K for field renovations)
16. Seattle Parks & Recreation ($110K for facility improvements to Northwest Seattle Pools)