New King County Council budget keeps focus on services

On Nov. 14, the Metropolitan King County Council adopted a 2013 King County Budget.

The adopted $7.6 billion budget includes a $685 million General Fund Budget, of which 73 percent is directed toward public safety and criminal justice programs.

The proposed budget would maintain the county’s AAA bond rating by not using the county’s cash reserves or tapping the rainy day fund.

The adopted budget includes:

• $1.3 million in funds to countywide regional human service organizations.

• The adopted budget requires the sheriff and Public Health-Seattle King County to lead a countywide effort to address human trafficking.

• Leveraging the Affordable Care Act by requiring the executive to assess and propose an integrated health and human services plan that will likely include the reorganization or consolidation of county departments.

• Preserving funding and staffing levels for the superior and district courts and the prosecuting attorney’s office.

The budget also supports several other initiatives:

• It allocates funding to the sheriff’s office to maintain its number of commissioned officers it needs for patrol.

• Makes strategic investments to reduce recidivism by continuing to support two-gang intervention programs and improve educational opportunities for those leaving jail.

• Review and potentially upgrade the county’s website, available in more languages to increase the ability of all of the county’s residents to access vital information.

Finally, the budget focuses on strategic planning, particularly in the county’s long-term capital facility needs. Specifically:

• Coordinates with members of the county’s solid waste system to determine their long-term commitment. This will either reinforce the need for the half-billion dollar transfer station upgrade process, or determine the need to reevaluate those investments.

• The council asked the executive to evaluate the county’s required investments to deal with the combined sewer overflow issue in the wastewater treatment division.

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