Your local government’s proposed budget for the next two years

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a nearly $16 billion budget for 2023-2024. The announcement focused on areas including these:

Investing in our environment

-Converting Metro’s bus fleet to zero-emissions: $180 million to purchase battery-electric buses and $43 million in zero-emissions infrastructure to ensure that Metro’s 1,400 coach bus fleet is zero emissions by 2035.

-Restoring fish habitat: $28.5 million in capital investments to remove blockages to fish passage habitat. King County will restore access to 50 percent of fish passage habitat by 2032.

-Expanding access to heat pumps and solar panels: $1 million to expand the Energize pilot program, which installs high-efficiency heat pumps in homes occupied by residents with low and moderate incomes in White Center and Skyway, to include solar panels. The County will also invest $1.9 million to provide private lenders with more flexibility to offer better financing options to higher-risk homeowners for home upgrades that also improve the environment.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

-Building affordable housing near transit: $45 million in bonds backed by lodging tax revenues will be issued in 2023 to fund affordable housing near transit stations.

-Supporting housing operations: Up to $30 million to fund operations, maintenance, and services for existing and new supportive housing sites.

-Make homelessness rare, one-time, and brief by supporting the King County Regional Homelessness Authority: $96 million to continue funding a coordinated crisis response to homelessness led by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.

Justice & Safety

-Preventing Gun Violence: $9 million to support 52 Regional Peacekeepers Collective, trusted messengers delivering a community-led approach to gun violence prevention including critical incident response, hospital-based referrals, and hot spot remediation activities.

-Ensuring safety for transit riders and staff: $21 million to support 140 Metro transit security officers providing support and visibility on Metro buses, transit centers, and stops. An additional $5.1 million will support Metro SaFE Reform Initiatives, including a new partnership with the Department of Community and Human Services and community-based organizations to connect people in crisis on and near Metro transit with resources and services.

-Implementing body-worn cameras: $5 million to provide all Sheriff patrol deputies with body-worn cameras. Deployment of cameras and associated training will begin immediately and phased in over the next three years.

-Expanding treatment programs for people in or being released from King County jails: $6.3 million to maintain and expand jail-based opioid treatment programs and services for people being released from the jail with substance use disorder or other behavioral health conditions.

Anti-Racism & Pro-Equity

-Funding participatory budgeting: $10 million for a second round of participatory budgeting for residents of urban unincorporated King County. The first round of participatory budgeting concluded successfully in August 2022, with residents selecting 45 capital projects to fund in their communities.

-Supporting community-led diversion programs: $11.9 million to continue the Restorative Community Pathways program and the Community
Diversion Program to provide community-based accountability and services for youth and adults outside the court system.

-Vacating drug convictions: $2 million to community groups to build awareness about options to vacate drug convictions and provide services that address the needs of individuals affected by the collateral consequences of contacts with the criminal system and drug convictions, such as persistent barriers to housing and employment.

Behavioral Health

-As a part of this budget package, Executive Constantine is transmitting a proposal for a new levy to fund behavioral health and pending passage by the King County Council will be presented to voters for their approval this spring. Over the next nine years, King County will invest, build, and transform the way people in our community care for one another.

The Crisis Care Centers levy would make a generational investment of nearly $1.25 billion to:
-Create a network of 5 crisis centers

-Stop the loss and expand by nearly half the number of residential treatment beds

-Deploy more services even before the new centers open, and

-Recruit and retain an outstanding and representative workforce to serve the people of King County.

The King County Council now starts its work on reviewing and amending the budget – watch for public hearings in the weeks ahead.

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