Community forum to focus on economy
March 9, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
Residents concerned about the effect of King County’s budget shortfall have an opportunity to voice their concerns to policymakers. A community forum will bring together residents with questions about the local impact of the economic downturn.
The county will host a community forum March 15 in the Issaquah Highlands. The forum will bring together four to 12 county residents to watch a video about the county’s response to the recession. Mayor Ava Frisinger was tapped to serve on the panel that discusses the effects of the downturn. Frisinger appears in the 22-minute video alongside other elected officials, including Sheriff Sue Rahr and County Councilmen Larry Phillips and Reagan Dunn.
Following the video, forum attendees will discuss the issue and complete a detailed questionnaire. Those will be compiled into a report shared by the County Council and local elected officials. The report will also be posted on the county’s Web site.
Frisinger called the forum an opportunity for citizens to learn how government functions and how the economic downturn affects county agencies.
“This is the first time the suburban cities have been engaged with the county and talking about our budget issues,” she said.
In the video, panelists said the county’s budget crisis could have far-reaching consequences.
Rahr said the shortfall could have “catastrophic” consequences on the county’s criminal justice system.
“There is no other entity responsible for this function, and there is no other dedicated source of funding that comes from outside of local government,” she said.
But county Budget Director Bob Cowan said the downturn could be approached as an opportunity to redefine government.
“It’s times like this that give us the greatest opportunities to make change in the way that we approach county government,” he said. “The situation that King County faces is an opportunity for King County government to sit back and take great stock in what we are doing, whether we’re doing it right, whether we are doing it wrong and how can we change it in order to meet the changing demands that our citizens are placing on us.”
If you go
1882 11th Ave., Issaquah
Learn more at www.kingcounty.gov/operations/auditor and then click on “Community Forums.”
Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.