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“The People’s Budget - Your Voice, Your Choice”: Public can now submit ideas for how to spend public funds in urban unincorporated areas

Summary

King County is asking people who live, work, play, go to school, or worship in its five urban unincorporated communities to decide how to spend $10 million in county funds in those communities. Residents can learn more and submit ideas at www.publicinput.com/yourvoiceyourchoice through March 5, 2022.

Story

King County’s participatory budgeting process is coming to the community—and it needs the public’s involvement.

 

After spending the last six months creating the framework for how this new process will work, the Community Investment Budget Committee is now helping educate people about how they can help guide $10 million in investments in five urban unincorporated areas of King County.

 

During the month of February, committee members are holding online Info Sessions to help residents understand this process, which they named “The People’s Budget: Your Voice, Your Choice.” These sessions are open to anyone who lives, works, plays, goes to school, or worships in these communities:

 

  • East Federal Way
  • East Renton
  • Fairwood
  • North Highline/White Center
  • Skyway/West Hill

 

Participatory Budgeting Program Coordinator Gloria Briggs says she’s excited because the committee’s work to date has produced a unique process that’s now in the hands of the larger community.

 

“Now we’re coming to the exciting part,” Briggs said. “The committee members can’t wait to share participatory budgeting with their neighbors. Ultimately, residents will nominate projects that they’re passionate about, and the community will vote on which projects receive funding.”

 

“The committee has already held several virtual Info Sessions, appeared on podcasts, and spoken at community meetings, and that’s just the start! There will be more Info Sessions this month.”

 

(Listen to Gloria Briggs discuss participatory budgeting on a recent episode of the Inside White Center podcast here)

 

More on Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting allows communities to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects. Residents can help decide how to spend money on capital projects (physical things that are bought, built, installed, and/or fixed up), programs and services.

 

Historically, King County’s five urban unincorporated communities have received inequitable and limited investments. About 100,000 people live in these areas, which have the county’s highest percentages of people of color and its highest poverty rates.

 

To help address these inequities, King County’s approved 2021-2022 budget includes funds specifically for these communities. That includes $10 million for capital projects for the five urban unincorporated communities and $1.35 million for programs, services, or capital projects in Skyway/West Hill and North Highline/White Center:

 

  • East Federal Way: $1.96 million for capital projects
  • East Renton: $301,000 for capital projects
  • Fairwood: $720,000 for capital projects
  • North Highline/White Center: $3.1 million for capital projects, $540,000 for services and programs
  • Skyway/West Hill: $3.9 million for capital projects, $810,000 for services and programs

 

The 21-member Community Investment Budget Committee developed the participatory budgeting process in urban unincorporated King County. This marks the first time King County has used this community-driven approach.

 

The process has five phases: developing the rules, brainstorming ideas (February), developing ideas into project proposals (March-April), voting (May), and funding winning projects (June and onward).

 

Who can participate? Anyone at least 12 years old who lives, works, owns a business, receives services, goes to school, or worships in any of the areas above.

 

Where does the money come from? The funds for the capital projects will be backed by bonds. The funds for services and programs in North Highline/White Center and Skyway/West Hill come from King County’s general fund and are supported by marijuana retail sales tax revenue.

 

How can I learn more? Are there any upcoming Info Sessions for my neighborhood? The best way to get information about participatory budgeting is to visit https://publicinput.com/YourVoiceYourChoice. Residents can find information on upcoming sessions, get information on the participatory budgeting process, enter ideas for their specific areas, and more.

 

Submit an idea

 

The deadline to submit ideas is March 5, 2022.

 

QUOTES

Participatory Budgeting Program Coordinator Gloria Briggs: “Now we’re coming to the exciting part. The committee members can’t wait to share participatory budgeting with their neighbors. Ultimately, residents will nominate projects that they’re passionate about, and the community will vote on which projects receive funding. The committee has already held virtual Info Sessions, appeared on podcasts, and spoken at community meetings, and that’s just the start!”

 

LINKS

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Brent Champaco, Local Services, 206-477-9094,
brent.champaco@kingcounty.gov