The King County Council on Tuesday approved a $672 million supplemental budget.
The King County Council on Tuesday approved a $672 million supplemental budget. The approved 2021 mid-biennial supplemental adds funding for climate equity projects, gun violence reduction, bus service restorations, tiny home villages, waterfront shuttle service, bike helmet awareness, economic recovery, and much more.
Councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the budget.
“Over the past two years, we’ve been able to make important and equitable investments in public health, transit, housing, and public safety, and this mid-biennial budget continues these across the County,” said Councilmember and Budget Chair Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “These new investments will be transformative for folks whose jobs are being restored, individuals who will be able to obtain shelter and permanent supportive housing, those living with mental illness and drug dependency or in need of opioid addiction services, and for families utilizing the Best Starts for Kids programs. And new climate equity projects will support those disproportionately impacted by climate change. As we close out our last budget of 2021, I continue to be appreciative of the creativity and dedication of my colleagues at the Council, as well as Executive Constantine and his team, in our response and recovery initiatives in meeting the extraordinary challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as a serious recession.”
With more promising revenue forecasts since adoption of the 2021-22 biennial budget last November, the Council was able to restore a number of cuts that were made at the time, including in the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency program, in public transit and more.
The following are some key investments in the adopted budget:
- $4 million to restore reductions and eliminate furloughs for 2022 which were included in last November’s 2021-2022 adopted biennial budget to meet target reductions due to the recession;
- $20 million of Climate Equity Capital bond funds for projects identified with community partners to support frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change and increase opportunities for those communities to benefit from emissions reductions and energy efficiency;
- $3.1 million for expanded regional gun violence and peacekeeping efforts, including additional community outreach, violence interrupters, and life coaches;
- $4.3 million for the new adult felony Community Diversion Program, including resources for a loss recovery fund that provides financial supports for harmed parties; assessment and referral staff; and community-based service contracts;
- $4 million in underspent funds for hiring and retention bonuses for commissioned King County Sheriff’s officers to help fill open positions in furthering public safety;
- $17.4 million in Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) to restore program cuts and some program expansion;
- $126 million for Best Starts for Kids (BSK) funds, consistent with the passage of the renewed BSK levy by voters in August 2020 and the implementation plan;
- $18.6 million for bus service restorations including 241,000 more transit service hours and flexible services increases; and
- $80.5 million for accelerating the planned appropriation for building electric bus charging capacity for 105 battery electric buses at Metro's Interim Base, an Access electric vehicle pilot, and base electrification planning.
Full details of the budget can be found online here.
Councilmember and Vice Chair of Budget and Fiscal Management Committee Rod Dembowski: “I’m very pleased with the significant investment this budget makes in speeding up our bus electrification initiative, as well as an initial climate bond for important capital projects to address climate change and its impacts. We must do a lot more, and do it more quickly to address climate change and I hope we can send to the voters a major climate bond proposal in 2022 that builds on this initial work.”
Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn: “I am glad the Council has taken an important first step to improving public safety in King County by providing $4 million for retention and hiring bonuses for King County Sheriff deputies as well as a recruiting officer. Together, these investments will help us hire and keep quality law enforcement officers. Given the severe staffing shortages that the Sheriff’s Office is experiencing, this funding is necessary to provide basic level of public safety services for our residents. While this is a step in the right direction to rebuild our law enforcement, the Council must continue the necessary work of re-investing in our Sheriff’s Office and in the safety of our residents.”
Councilmember Kathy Lambert: “I support a budget that continues to build on our economic development, COVID recovery, and public safety. King County residents rightfully expect a high level of service from the Sheriff’s office. The investments adopted include an opportunity to recruit and fill the 59 vacancies that will help make sure that the Sheriff is appropriately staffed and continue to provide the level of service that residents have grown accustomed too. Budgets often focus on the major investments, however this budget includes some very impactful small investments as well. For example, this budget will help create an inventory of privately owned sole-access roadways to aid in emergency planning. While small, this project will improve emergency planning efforts and help make sure all residents of the county can have more tools that help will be available if it is ever needed.”