Committee removes $20 roads fee from King County budget

November 8, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:15 a.m. Nov. 8, 2012

The committee responsible for crafting the 2013 King County budget dropped a plan to charge unincorporated-area residents a $20 vehicle-license fee to fund road maintenance, officials announced Thursday.

The proposed $7.6 billion budget contains $685 million for the general fund — the source of dollars for elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. King County Council budget team members said 73 percent of dollars from the fund go toward public safety and criminal justice programs.

The proposed budget does not dip into cash reserves or the county’s rainy day fund.

In September, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a $20 fee to fund road maintenance and storm response in rural and unincorporated areas.

The budget team did not include the fee, and instead used the spending plan to highlights the need for a comprehensive state transportation package to address road maintenance.

Councilman Joe McDermott, Budget Leadership Team chief, and budget team members — councilwomen Kathy Lambert, Julia Patterson and Jane Hague — assembled the budget, and the council Budget Committee then voted unanimously to send the document to the council.

The document is scheduled to come up for consideration and a possible vote on the  proposed budget Nov. 13.

“The budget proposed by the leadership team makes strategic investments to save the county money in the long-run,” McDermott said in a statement.

The document preserves funding and staffing for King County District and Superior courts, and the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

The proposed budget also includes $1.3 million in onetime funds to support domestic violence shelters, legal aid, services for sexual assault survivors, post-incarceration education and housing services.

Lambert, Issaquah’s representative on the council, touted efforts to preserve the criminal justice system.

“I also am pleased we were able to eliminate the vast majority of staffing cuts proposed for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, which already has absorbed reductions in recent years,” she said in a statement. “It is important to preserve the ability of the prosecutor’s office to respond to criminal justice needs.”

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