Kohl-Welles secures funding in County budget for District Four programs
The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously adopted its 2019-2020 biennial budget, a plan that includes $100 million for affordable housing projects; $230 million for programs and services addressing homelessness; funding to increase juror participation and diversity; and implementing new anti-discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment policies and procedures for King County’s nearly 15,000 employees.
Today’s passage comes after nearly two months of deliberation and review of the budget proposal transmitted by the County Executive in September. Totaling $11.7 billion dollars, the budget is headlined by an array of key measures:
·Increasing winter shelter and programs for those who are homeless.
·Taking steps to implement 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.
·The restoration of the gang unit, a vital law enforcement tool an communities affected by gang violence.
·Examining the impact of the wastewater system effluent on orcas and salmon.
“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,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who was a member of the budget leadership team. “From Vashon Island to Shilshole Bay 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.
Kohl-Welles spearheaded the successful efforts to obtain and increase funding for several priority programs for her constituents in Council District Four and residents countywide.
“I was especially pleased to help secure funding for planning and pre-design for an affordable housing project that will be located at North Seattle College,” said Kohl-Welles. “This uniquely situated development will benefit students and others due to its close proximity to the campus and the pedestrian bridge that will connect it to Sound Transit’s Northgate light rail station, set to open in 2021.”
In addition to funding for housing and homelessness, Kohl-Welles secured funding to implement new harassment and discrimination policies for King County’s 15,000 employees. There are also funds to train employees to recognize the signs of labor trafficking; develop a plan on how we can increase juror participation and diversity; make improvements to Metro’s para-transit program; and meet state-mandated guidelines for processing certain immigration visa requests.
“On the surface, our County’s economy is thriving,” added Kohl-Welles. “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”
Additionally, Kohl-Welles was able to secure grants and funding for programs and organizations important to the residents of District Four, including:
• $15,000 for FareStart
• $10,000 for United Indians of All Tribes Youth Program
• $10,000 for Phinney Neighborhood Association Youth Program
• $4,000 for OARS for Women Vets
• $2,000 for Queen Anne Helpline
• $2,000 for Pike Market Food Bank
• $2,000 for Labor Agency Food Bank
• $2,000 for Family Works Greenwood and Wallingford Food Banks