Issaquah meeting to focus on King County outreach
August 16, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
The way King County leaders and residents interact is due to change soon.
In a decision last month, leaders changed how county government and unincorporated-area residents interact. Now, Countywide Community Forums of King County — a public-engagement program overseen by the county auditor — is asking citizens for feedback about the updated outreach effort. The effort includes a forum at the Issaquah Library and a survey for residents to complete online.
The outreach model adopted by the County Council establishes eight to 12 community service areas to cover all rural and unincorporated areas in sprawling King County, not just the communities included in the six existing unincorporated area councils.
The updated framework calls for a single point of contact between residents in each of the community service areas and county government. Plans call for the staffer to hold meetings, develop work programs and provide regular opportunities for homeowner associations, community development groups and unincorporated area councils to meet county officials.
Countywide Community Forums of King County is hosting a series of meetings to collect feedback about the county’s updated outreach efforts to unincorporated-area residents:
RSVP for the forums at http://ccfkc.communityforums. org/en/index/events. Citizens can complete a survey to help county leaders learn how to best to expand community participation, and strengthen the communication link between residents in unincorporated areas and county government, at www.communityforums.org.
Unlike the earlier arrangement, the community service areas model is designed to encompass communities not represented by a local unincorporated area council, such as Klahanie and the Snoqualmie Valley.
The decision affects the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council, a liaison for unincorporated area residents near Issaquah to the county government based in Seattle. Leaders in the half-dozen unincorporated area councils raised concerns about the updated approach in the lead-up to the County Council decision.
“This new model will support strong community leadership that is vital to informed policy making,” Councilman Joe McDermott, sponsor of the legislation, said after the council adopted the measure July 11. “My colleagues and I deeply appreciate the continued service of community advocates. We look forward to working together into the future.”
The council adopted the legislation in a unanimous decision and amid praise from the Issaquah-area representatives, Councilwoman Kathy Lambert and Councilman Reagan Dunn.
“I appreciate the service of our existing unincorporated area councils. They have been working hard and providing our county leaders with the unincorporated area perspective for many years,” Dunn said in a statement after the council adopted the legislation. “I hope this new framework can build on those relationships and expand outreach to other parts of the unincorporated areas that don’t have unincorporated area councils.”
Lambert said the updated framework should provide opportunities for more groups in the unincorporated areas to participate in the decision-making process.
“The council and the executive will be working together to make sure the concerns of residents are considered in both the legislative and executive branches of government,” she said in a statement. “We want greater participation so that we can set goals that are monitored to improve engagement with rural residents.”
County Executive Dow Constantine is scheduled to deliver a proposal to implement the community service areas plan in the 2012 county budget. The budget is due to be transmitted to the council in late September.