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Record $631 million emergency COVID budget approved by Council

Summary

A seventh round of emergency funding in response to COVID-19, this time totaling more than $631 million, was approved Tuesday by the King County Council by a vote of 8-1.

Story

A seventh round of emergency funding in response to COVID-19, this time totaling more than $631 million, was approved Tuesday by the King County Council by a vote of 8-1.

The supplemental budget, funded largely by the American Rescue Plan Act, is larger than all previous King County COVID budgets combined and will provide support for a variety of services as King County looks toward recovery from the pandemic and its many collateral impacts. These investments align with the Council’s set priorities around housing stability and homelessness services, food security and access, mental and behavioral health, economic recovery, and workforce support, childcare and access to justice.

“Today we passed the largest supplemental budget in the history of King County. This is transformational — providing support for the mother struggling to provide for her child, for the renter on the edge of eviction, for the business owner getting relief from the new BIPOC economic resiliency fund, for the survivor of sexual assault or gender-based violence seeking justice, and many, many more,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who is also budget chair. “I appreciate the ambitiousness of Executive Dow Constantine’s budget, and the collaboration of my colleagues in crafting this budget. Our work is not finished but these investments will help us find our way out of this extraordinary challenge.”

The major spending areas include:

  • Community Supports (e.g. food security, rental assistance, etc.)

$255 million

  • Vaccination Efforts including mass vaccination sites

$117 million

  • Public Health Response to the pandemic

$114 million

  • Economic Recovery / Jobs

$67 million

  • County Operations in response to the pandemic

$41 million

  • Arts, Entertainment, Culture and Science

$36 million

Of the total, $367 million will come from King County’s allocation of ARPA funds, $16 million from the General Fund, and $249 million from various revenue sources included state and FEMA grants. You can read the full legislation here.

“As more people are vaccinated, it seems we may be at the beginning of the end of one of the most horrendous, unnerving, and challenging times in our history,” Kohl-Welles said. “But COVID isn’t going away completely and people in our region are still suffering, especially in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID, including refugee, immigrant, and BIPOC communities. This is why today's passage of this supplemental budget is so critical, and I am proud to have supported it.”

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