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Gang Unit and Massive Investments in Housing, Homeless Services, and Transportation Headline Budget


Metropolitan King County
Council News

Gang Unit and Massive Investments in Housing, Homeless Services, and Transportation Headline Budget


Today’s passage comes after nearly two months of deliberation and review of the proposal delivered from the County Executive in September.


thumbnail-main The King County Council unanimously adopts the 2019-2020 county budget, a plan that includes funding to restore the Sheriff’s gang unit, $100 million for affordable housing projects, and $230 million to combat homelessness.

Today’s passage comes after nearly two months of deliberation and review of the proposal delivered from the County Executive in September. Totaling $11.7 billion dollars, the budget is headlined by an array of key measures:

• The restoration of the gang unit, a vital law enforcement tool an communities affected by gang violence.

• Increasing shelter space for the homeless while increasing oversight of funding for programs.

• Taking steps to implement a low/no-cost transit fares for Metro’s lowest-income passengers with the goal of having the program in place by 2020.

• Providing funds to help meet the region’s growing transit needs, including 200,000 hours in increased bus service throughout King County. There are also funds to study new transit options, including Seattle ferry services to and from Renton and Kenmore.

• Examining the impact of the wastewater system on orcas and salmon.


“Together with my colleagues we created a budget that is lean, smart, and consistent with our values. We made massive investments in affordable housing for working families, strengthened public safety in our communities, and expanded transit options and access through smart financial management.”
--Budget Committee Chair Dave Upthegrove

“This budget formally establishes the new Department of Local Services, which will allow us to develop a visible, active local government and appropriate levels of service for unincorporated King County residents. There are so many issues I am concerned about as we move forward and I believe that we need to be proactive and prepared for the future of the County. For example, this led to the development of a solid waste study, which will show us how we should prepare for a sustainable future for solid waste disposal. Secondly, the Sheriff will be conducting an analysis for a community policing model to help make officers more visible in the community. Additionally, our roads infrastructure funding. We are currently set to have no funding for a capital roads program in less than 7 years, which is unacceptable, so we will be working with the state to modernize funding formulas.”
--Budget Committee Vice Chair Kathy Lambert

“This budget prioritizes investments aimed at ensuring everyone in King County has the opportunity to pursue their full potential. From housing investments, to expanding access to transit, to innovative criminal justice reform initiatives, this is a budget that puts our progressive values into action. I am honored to have participated in the budget leadership team that led the efforts to complete this work.”
--Councilmember Rod Dembowski

“This budget responds to our County’s most urgent needs with comprehensive targeted investments to make King County a welcoming place for all people, from all walks of life, to live, work and thrive. From Vashon Island to Skykomish to White Center to Snoqualmie Pass, this budget improves transit services, enhances protections for our environment, strengthens law enforcement, and increases access to justice, among many other programs and services. Perhaps most important, millions of dollars are dedicated to emergency shelters for folks without homes and for transit-oriented development for working people so they can afford to live closer to work without breaking the bank. On the surface, our County’s economy is thriving. Unfortunately, the reality is, the income inequality gap is growing and too many people are being left behind struggling to get by. This budget advances our efforts in addressing these inequities.”
--Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles

“I am proud of the Council’s work to produce a biennial budget that moves King County forward. With funding for the Gun Safety Action Plan to keep residents safe, support for immigrants and refugees, affordable housing and homelessness services, and equitable transit, I am pleased that we’ve made smart, strategic investments that ensure King County is an equitable, growing and welcoming county for all families.”
--Council Chair Joe McDermott

“King County’s two-year budget funds critical services, while also setting the stage to meet transportation, housing, and safety needs over the long-term in our rapidly changing community. Over the past several weeks my colleagues and I have worked to add transit service countywide, establish a roadmap to achieve our 25-year transit vision, invest in a regional approach to housing, and allocate funding for emergency shelters so our most vulnerable have places to sleep.”
--Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci

“I am pleased to join my colleagues in supporting this budget. By increasing funding for the Sheriff’s gang unit, along with adding more shelter space and providing reduced transit fares for our most vulnerable as well as increased oversight, we have listened to our constituents and responded with a budget that answers their concerns.”
--Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer

“In this budget, we have indicated that we want to take a more critical look at how to achieve zero youth detention. I believe that we can make significant improvements in addressing mass incarceration by the Council, Executive Constantine’s staff and Department of Public Health working together to develop strategies to achieve our goal.”
--Councilmember Larry Gossett

“Our region has enjoyed several years of economic growth, but I’m mindful that an eventual economic downturn is inevitable. This budget maximizes financial reserves and maintains a healthy rainy day fund which puts the County in a better position to provide services in the face of future economic challenges.”
--Councilmember Reagan Dunn

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