State shores up funding for King County Flood Control District

May 6, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8 a.m. May 6, 2011

King County leaders praised state legislators and Gov. Chris Gregoire for supporting a measure to shore up funding for the King County Flood Control District, the agency responsible for flood-protection policies, programs and projects.

Gregoire signed a measure Thursday to protect funding for the district. The bill exempts the district from the statewide property rate tax cap by protecting up to 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The exemption is in effect from next year until 2017.

Until the governor signed the measure, the district faced a steep drop-off in funding due to the decline in housing values and a state cap on property tax rates.

“We worked together as a region to preserve this important tool that will protect people and businesses throughout King County from floods,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “I am pleased to see the overwhelming support in the state Legislature for this bill, and I thank Gov. Gregoire for signing it today.”

The district collects 11 cents per $1,000 in assessed value and uses the dollars to fund flood-control efforts.

In Issaquah, the district assisted the city and landowners to stabilize the eroded Issaquah Creek bank near the Issaquah Medical Building along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last year.

Floodwaters eroded the bank near the medical building during a major flood in January 2009. Officials raised concerns about a future flood damaging the road serving the medical building or damaging the facility.

Nowadays, officials said the area is better equipped for future flooding due to the efforts to stabilize the creek bank.

The county created the flood control district in April 2007. The nine-member County Council oversees the agency.

County Councilwoman Julia Patterson, the flood control district chairwoman, praised state leaders for supporting the measure to support the district.

“Their actions preserve $72 million in critical funding that allows the Flood Control District to continue maintaining and improving flood protection facilities, safeguarding our residents, their property and the state’s economy,” she said in a statement.

Mayors from King County cities at risk from flooding also trekked to Olympia to testify for the legislation.

“The flood district not only works to protect significant regional economic interests and thousands of citizens from the devastating and long-lasting effects of flooding, but its activities save all taxpayers millions of dollars in avoided costs,” Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said in a statement. “This bill will allow the flood district to refocus fully on its valued mission.”

Issaquah’s delegation in the state Senate and the state House of Representatives — including state Rep. Jay Rodne, a Republican from the flood-prone Snoqualmie Valley — supported the measure.

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