A review group of community members and King County staff selected 21 residents of different backgrounds and geographies for a new committee to create a process that will allow communities to choose how to invest $10 million in their neighborhoods.
A new community-centered budget process is underway, with the selection of 21 committee members who will develop a $10 million investment plan in unincorporated King County. The committee will design and carry out a budgeting process that will be centered on racial equity. The process will build on community strengths and address specific priorities that these communities have identified.
"Centering communities in this budget process means that more voices will be a part of the process to invest in the future of unincorporated King County, and that’s going to lead to better processes, better connections between partners, and a bright future for everyone," said Executive Constantine. "I want to thank the committee members for stepping up and helping chart the course."
Over the two months, King County Local Services accepted applications from dozens of residents who were hoping to serve on the committee. The members represent the five urban unincorporated areas of West King County:
- Skyway (five members)
- White Center/North Highline (five members)
- East Federal Way (five members)
- Fairwood (three members)
- East Renton Highlands (three members)
The committee held its first meeting on June 5 and will meet regularly to create the guidebook for Local Services' "Participatory Budgeting" effort. Committee members will also engage the community in the participatory budgeting process.
"I’m really excited to have this opportunity to take a valuable resource and have it directed, by community, to make decisions about what’s best for folks in their community," said Community Investment Committee Member Emijah Smith.
Below are the Community Investment Committee members and the areas they represent:
- North Highline/White Center: Emijah Smith, Marissa Jauregui, Sahle Habte, Carmen Smith, Kimnag Seng
- Skyway/West Hill: Ayanna Brown, Yvette Dinish, Curtis Taylor, Jamoni Owens, Rebecca Berry
- East Federal Way: Trenise Rogers, Jimmy Brown, Serena Evans-Satoran, Anna Irungu, Zayda Quintana
- East Renton: Ajala Wilson-Daraja, Yordanos Teferi, Deborah Eberle
- Fairwood: Noni Ervin, Michelle Faltous, Elizabeth Singer
Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. In King County Local Services’ case, this work will allow the community to decide how to spend the following two funds:
- $10 million on capital projects in these urban unincorporated areas. The funds can be used for anything that needs to be built or replaced, like buildings, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, signs, and play structures.
- $1.3 million for services or programs in Skyway/West Hill and North Highline/White Center. This funding can be used for almost anything, like after-school programs, job training, building maintenance, food, art supplies, and investments in play structures or sidewalks.
The committee will design and carry out a budgeting process that will be centered on racial equity. The process will build on community strengths and address specific priorities that these communities have identified.
The committee will also help design the larger Participatory Budgeting process to make sure that communities have control over how this money is spent and that funded projects will address real community challenges and have the most benefit. The committee will also be heavily engaged in collaborating with local community-based organizations and performing outreach to their respective communities.
Centering communities in this budget process means that more voices will be a part of the process to invest in the future of unincorporated King County, and that’s going to lead to better processes, better connections between partners, and a bright future for everyone. I want to thank the committee members for stepping up and helping chart the course.
Today, King County took a major step toward inclusive, community-driven budgeting. The CIC will engage the broader community and make important budget decisions that create a brighter day in Skyway and the rest of Urban Unincorporated King County.
Community participation is essential to good policy making, which is why I’m excited to see King County kick off this participatory budgeting process. The Community Investment Committee is made up of a phenomenal group of individuals who live, work, or play in urban unincorporated King County. I am grateful for their willingness to serve and to engage with their neighbors in this process, and I look forward to seeing the results of this community-led effort
This community led effort is an incredible way for residents to have a direct say in how the County can invest in their neighborhoods. This engaged group will ensure that we are addressing unmet needs in unincorporated areas, as voiced by those who live and work there. I cannot wait to see what this committee can do.
I am eager to see the impact of the work done by this committee in our communities. The participatory budgeting process will help amplify the voices of community members in Unincorporated King County and ensure that specific needs of different neighborhoods are heard and addressed by local government.
The launch of the Community Investment Committee represents the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by the Executive, Council and community to give community members more voice in how public dollars are spent. It is a critical first step in giving the public more avenues to influence in policy making in King County.
Participatory Budgeting is here! This is going to be an amazing opportunity that will center on the voice of community members throughout the whole process and empower them while doing so. I am really excited to work with the selected committee members, and to get this very impactful work underway.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships, as well as make new relationships and new partnerships. I’m really excited to have this opportunity to take a valuable resource and have it directed, by community, to make decisions about what’s best for folks in their community.
For more information, contact:
Brent Champaco, Local Services, 206-477-9094