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Council restores funding for County 4-H programs


Youth programs will continue through use of funds available in supplemental budget


The Metropolitan King County Council gave its approval today to a supplemental 2009 budget ordinance that includes County support of youth programs directed by the King County 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, and Health) program.

In closing a $56 million budget gap, the adopted 2010 King County Budget ended funding for several programs, including 4-H. The 4-H program has been using the money they receive from King County to leverage additional financial support and there was concern that without County funding they would have to end the program.

“The public support for 4-H and Washington State University Extension was so tremendous that the Council wanted to fund this program even in light of our economic difficulties,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “4-H has programs both in the rural and urban communities that serve the youth of King County.”

“We in King County are justifiably proud of our agricultural heritage and ongoing support for local farmers who supply fresh, high-quality, healthy food to our citizens,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents Council District 3 including the Sammamish River and Snoqualmie Valley agricultural production districts. “Supporting our next generation of farmers is a crucial role for us to play if we are to maintain a vital agricultural community in the future. In addition to agriculture projects, the youth involved in 4-H learn a lot about civics, such as the flood of testimony they presented about the benefits of the program during our budget deliberations. In response, we worked together to keep this important program going next year.”

“The Washington State University Extension programs provide valuable opportunities for thousands across King County to learn about healthy living and environmental stewardship,” said Budget Vice Chair Jane Hague. “I am pleased we were able to reinstate the funding for these programs.”

Working in partnership with Washington State University Extension, the goal of King County 4-H has expanded beyond the organization’s agricultural origins with a growing emphasis on urban youth. The $109,000 in funding provided by the County from the 2009 Budget will go toward a variety of activities ranging from plant science and horse riding to robotics, environmental stewardship and photography.

The King County Executive and Council adopt quarterly adjustments to the County’s annual budget. These supplemental budgets provide for relatively minor changes to the County budget and the funding of certain critical services.

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