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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine enhances local services for unincorporated areas in 2014 proposed budget

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a 2014 Budget that enhances funding for a range of local services for residents of unincorporated King County – including public safety, parks, and the environment.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a 2014 Budget that enhances funding for a range of local services for residents of unincorporated King County – including public safety, parks, and the environment.

“Through the reforms we’ve put in place that have created new operational efficiencies, we are able to propose a budget that sustains essential functions and restores some critical services lost in the recession,” said Executive Constantine.

The 250,000 people who live in the unincorporated portions of King County are spread over 2,200 square miles. If taken together, they would by far comprise the county’s second-largest city.

The Executive’s 2014 Proposed Budget maintains funding for the popular Sheriff’s storefront deputies in White Center and Skyway/West Hill, calls for reopening of the Hicks-Raburn Precinct in Maple Valley, and restores four uniformed officers – three patrol deputies and a sergeant. The proposed budget also calls for:

  • Improvements sought by residents of White Center for Steve Cox Park, including artificial turf for the athletic fields, lighting of outdoor basketball courts, and rehabilitation of the stadium roof.

  • Rehabilitation of Dockton Dock on Maury Island, including work with the State to remove or wrap existing creosote pilings, and the acquisition of more open space on Vashon-Maury Island.
  • Investments in trail projects to extend the Green to Cedar River Trail, as well as construction of trailhead parking lots at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park and Pinnacle Peak Park in the Enumclaw area.

  • Approved in the previously passed biennial budget, but with new work happening in 2014, the Development of stormwater projects that include improving release of flows from Allen Lake to reduce flooding at NE 8th Street on the Sammamish Plateau; removing sediment and improving stream habitat at May Creek and Long Marsh Creek in the Four Creeks and Renton area; and repairing a conveyance line of Molasses Creek at Fairwood, east of Renton, to mitigate major flood risks.

This budget completes the County’s transition from hourly charges for new building permits to the new fixed-fee model that improves predictability and consistency for customers, while lowering the cost of issuing permits and opening the door to future e-commerce permitting options.

The proposed budget also maintains the Community Service Area grant program, which in 2013 funded 25 grants for grassroots community projects throughout unincorporated King County.

ABOUT THE UNINCORPORATED AREAS

Unincorporated King County has a population of 250,000 scattered over a broad geographic area with a very limited tax base, creating significant challenges in providing services.

King County is the only one of the state’s nine largest counties to have so completely implemented the state Growth Management Act, which calls for urban areas to be annexed into cities. The legacy system for funding county general services and county roads does not contemplate growth management, as evidenced by the fact that in the eight other counties, an average of 44 percent of their people live in the unincorporated areas and they pay into their Roads funds – whereas in King County only 13 percent pay for the roads that one-million cars drive on every day.

Even more significantly, there is almost no commercial tax base in unincorporated King County. Only 3.6 percent of the total taxable sales within the county take place in the unincorporated area, versus 21 percent in the other eight counties. The resulting tax base is almost entirely residential and agricultural.

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King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography