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King County 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

We are pleased to present the King County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for fiscal year ending December 31, 2019. The CAFR is based on the governmental financial reporting model which depicts the County as a single unified entity, while continuing to provide the traditional fund-based financial statements.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to King County for its 2018 CAFR. This is the 38th consecutive year that the County has achieved this prestigious award. In order to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, a government must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive annual financial report. This report must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements. A Certificate of Achievement is valid for a period of one year only. We believe the 2019 CAFR continues to meet the award program's requirements and have submitted it to the GFOA to determine its eligibility for another certificate.

Link/share our site at kingcounty.gov/CAFR

NOTE: Documents on this page are in PDF format. To request a document in an alternate format, email Eben Sutton or July Maha.


CAFR archive for historical reference with select financial highlights for that year
2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • At December 31, 2018, the assets and deferred outflows of resources of the County exceeded its liabilities and deferred inflows of resources by $6.8 billion (referred to as net position of the primary government). Of this amount, $821 million represents unrestricted net position, which may be used to meet the County's short-term obligations to its vendors, creditors, employees and customers.

  • The County's total net position increased 13 percent or $781 million over last year mainly because of capital assets acquisitions and construction that did not utilize borrowing. Public Transportation used federal grants to make several purchases of new fuel-efficient and high technology buses to add to its existing fleet. The Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network levy collections have been sufficient to support its capital construction activities, avoiding previously anticipated borrowing. The county has also decided to fund Child and Family Justice Center construction through current revenues. The County also sold Convention Place Station, part of its network of public transit stations serving the downtown Seattle area, to the Washington State Convention Center Public Utility District for cash ands notes receivable totaling $161 million; the County recognized a gain of $123 million on the sale.

  • At yearend 2018, the County's governmental funds reported combined fund balances of $983 million, an increase of $16 million over the prior year. Approximately 9 percent or $87 million of this amount is unassigned fund balance which is available for spending at the government's discretion.
2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • At December 31, 2017, the assets and deferred outflows of resources of the County exceeded its liabilities and deferred inflows of resources by $6.1 billion (referred to as net position). Of this amount, $701.8 million represents unrestricted net position, which may be used to meet the County's short-term obligations to its vendors, creditors, employees and customers.

  • The County's total net position increased 11.1 percent or $605.1 million over last year mainly because of capital assets acquisitions and construction that did not utilize borrowing. Public Transportation used federal grants to make several purchases of new fuel-efficient and high technology buses to add to its existing fleet. Two major construction projects, namely, the Child and Family Justice Center and the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network, were in the early development phase where costs are being financed through current revenues until longer-term financing becomes available.

  • The governmental activities component of net position grew by 12.9 percent or $334.1 million over last year while the business-type activities component gained 9.5 percent or $271.0 million.
2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • At December 31, 2016, the assets and deferred outflows of resources of the County exceeded its liabilities and deferred inflows of resources by $5,430.1 million (net position). Of this amount, $479.0 million represents unrestricted net position, which may be used to meet the government's ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors.

  • The County's total net position increased 13.0 percent or $624.0 million because of new bus purchases and property acquisitions and capital projects. The governmental net position increased by 10.5 percent or $245.6 million, and the business-type net position increased by 15.3 percent or $378.3 million.

  • At December 31, 2016, the County's governmental funds reported combined fund balances of $846.7 million, an increase of $141.9 million in comparison with the prior year. Approximately 5.7 percent or $48.0 million of this amount is available for spending at the government's discretion (unassigned fund balance).
2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • At December 31, 2015, the assets and deferred outflows of resources of the County exceeded its liabilities and deferred inflows of resources by $4,787.7 million (net position). Of this amount, $380.4 million represents unrestricted net position, which may be used to meet the government's ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors.

  • The County's total net position increased 6.9 percent or $309.1 million due to increases in charges for services, grants and contributions, and property and sales taxes. The governmental net position increased by 5.1 percent or $112.9 million, and the business-type net position increased by 8.6 percent or $196.2 million.

  • At December 31, 2015, the County's governmental funds reported combined fund balances of $686.0 million, an increase of $2.9 million in comparison with the prior year. Approximately 7.8 percent or $53.4 million of this amount is available for spending at the government's discretion (unassigned fund balance).
2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Economic conditions have a direct impact on the County’s revenues and the demand for services. The County’s main revenue sources include taxes, charges for services and intergovernmental revenues (grants and other financial assistance). The largest sources are charges for services and taxes, each comprising approximately 50 percent of total general revenues. Retail sales taxes are dependent on the level of retail sales which is directly correlated with the business cycle. Taxable sales increased by 7.8 percent in King County in 2014 with construction sales showing continued growth at 11.0 percent. Retail, food service and accommodation sales continued to improve from last year.

2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Economic conditions have a direct impact on the County’s revenues and the demand for services. The County’s main revenue sources include taxes, charges for services and intergovernmental revenues (grants and other financial assistance). The largest single source is charges for services at 47.0 percent of total revenues, followed by taxes at 41.3 percent of total revenues. Property taxes tend to be quite stable since the amount of revenue received is based on the previous year’s levy amount plus 1 percent, plus property tax on the value of new construction. Retail sales taxes, on the other hand, are more volatile because they are dependent on the level of retail sales which tend to track the business cycle. Taxable sales increased by seven percent in King County in 2013 with construction sales showing moderately strong growth at 16 percent. Retail, food service and accommodation sales also experienced solid gains.

2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

The County completed or had underway many major initiatives in 2012. These initiatives were guided by the King County Strategic Plan adopted in 2010. Some initiatives included:

  • The County continued to identify operating efficiencies in many budgets during 2012, enabling most agencies to continue all programs and staffing levels in 2013. Among the most significant efficiencies realized were continued consolidation of servers in the County's data center, relocation of agencies to reduce office space and energy consumption, and continued improvements in "return to work" programs that reduce industrial insurance costs.

  • As part of the efficiencies initiative, the County formally deployed the "Lean" process improvement methodology and hired a four-person Continuous Improvement Team. This team, along with other Lean-qualified employees in some agencies, conducted a series of events to identify efficiencies and long-term cost savings. Several of these changes were implemented in the 2013 budget.
2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • A broad-based economic recovery is underway. Retail sales surged throughout 2011, the stock market is near pre-recession highs, personal income is growing steadily, and corporate profits are on the rise. Manufacturing is also recovering at a good pace. The Blue Chip consensus forecast is for a modest 2.1 percent growth in real GDP in 2012.

  • It will take several years of sustained growth to make up the lost ground in employment, personal income, and taxable consumer spending. King County will continue to face numerous challenges, including volatile energy prices, rising employee and programmatic health care costs, and the need to raise sufficient revenues to support utility, transit system, and general government operations.
2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • Economic conditions have a direct impact on the County's revenues and the demand for county services. The County's revenue sources include taxes, charges for services, and intergovernmental revenues. The largest single source is taxes, which comprise approximately one-third of total revenue. Property taxes tend to be stable since the passing of Initiative 747, which limits the growth of property tax revenues to 1 percent plus new construction. Other tax sources, such as the retail sales tax, are much more volatile and directly influenced by economic conditions in the region.

  • The County's economy is experiencing recessionary weakness and a continued decline in real estate values. Total assessed valuation (TAV) fell by 11.6 percent for tax year 2010 and an additional 3.4 percent for tax year 2011. Despite the downward pressure, TAV per capita is relatively high at $170,000. Taxpayer concentration is low, with the top 10 property tax payers accounting for only 3.5 percent of 2010 TAV.
2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • Economic conditions have a direct impact on the County's revenues and the demand for county services. The County's revenue sources include taxes, charges for services, and intergovernmental revenues. The largest single source is taxes, which comprise approximately one-third of total revenue. Property taxes tend to be stable since the passing of Initiative 747, which limits the growth of property tax revenues to 1 percent plus new construction. Other tax sources, such as the retail sales tax, are much more volatile and directly influenced by economic conditions in the region.

  • The recession hit King County later than the rest of the country but since the middle of 2008 over 75,000 jobs have been lost. Employment declines in the motor vehicle, finance and employment services industries are reflective of employer downsizing in general and some firms going out of business altogether. Personal income growth in the county also turned negative in 2009 versus overage annual growth of 8.2 percent from 2005 to 2007.
2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • The ongoing international economic crisis put to rest the region's economic expansion and has had a significant adverse effect on regional employment and income. County employment growth in 2008 averaged 0.9 percent above 2007 levels, a deceleration from the 3.5 percent average annual growth experienced in 2006 and 2007. Construction employment began to decline in 2008 following several years of strong growth. Employment declines in the motor vehicle, finance and employment services industries are reflective of a stalled credit market and general employer pessimism. Personal income growth in the county has also slowed, with estimated annual growth of under two percent in 2008, versus average annual growth of 8.2 percent from 2005 to 2007.

  • County taxable retail sales were particularly hard hit towards the end of 2008 by fleeting consumer confidence. General Fund local option collections declined in 2008 by an unprecedented 5.13 percent from 2007 levels, the first drop since 2003. In comparison, between 2000 and 2003, General Fund local option sales tax receipts fell by 7.17 percent over the three-year timeframe. Strong growth in 2004 of 6.19 percent, 2005 of 7.45 percent, 2006 of 6.36 percent, and 2007 of 10.77 percent punctuated the turnaround from the previous recession.
2007 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • The 2001 recession had a significant adverse effect on regional employment and income growth. Economic conditions stabilized in 2003 and an expansion started in 2004 - the first increases in total regional employment in four years. County employment growth in 2007 averaged 1.8 percent above 2006 levels, a decrease from the 2.9 percent growth experienced annually between 2005 and 2006. Construction sector growth continues to lead job creation, but with significantly reduced momentum in 2007. Strong manufacturing employment growth in 2006. fueled in part by the cyclical ramp up in aircraft manufacturing gave way to static manufacturing employment levels in 2007. Personal income in the County has also rebounded, with an average annual increase of 8.0 percent between 2005 and 2007, versus average growth of 0.4 percent from 2000 to 2002.