King County renames, reorganizes permitting agency

October 16, 2012

In response to a population decline in unincorporated King County, leaders renamed and reorganized the county permitting agency Sept. 17, as officials prepare to relocate the office from Renton to Snoqualmie.

In a unanimous decision, King County Council members approved a measure to reorganize the Department of Development and Environmental Services and rename the agency as the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review.

The responsibilities for the agency do not change with the reorganization and the name switch.

The department issues building and land-use permits for properties in unincorporated areas, such as Klahanie, Mirrormont and Preston. The agency also enforces county land-use and building codes, staffs the King County Fire Marshal Division and issues business licenses.

Read more

King County Council approves amended arena proposal

October 16, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 16, 2012

King County and Seattle leaders granted unanimous approval Monday to proceed on a Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

King County Council members approved the final memorandum of understanding and interlocal agreement among the county, Seattle and investor Chris Hansen’s ArenaCo. The decision by the council — and the Seattle City Council’s decision to adopt the memorandum of understanding and interlocal agreement Monday — is a key step in the effort to bring professional basketball and hockey teams to the region.

The agreement allows for up to $200 million in public dollars to finance a $490 million arena near Safeco Field.

In May, County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joined Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager, and announced a pact between the county, city and ArenaCo to govern financing for a proposed arena.

Read more

King County Sheriff’s Office to hire 14 deputies

October 13, 2012

King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert (center) joins Councilman Joe McDermott (from left), King County Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff Steve Strachan for the hiring announcement Friday. Contributed

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 13, 2012

King County Sheriff Steve Strachan announced a plan Friday to hire 14 deputies in the months ahead by using dollars from the existing King County Sheriff’s Office budget.

Read more

King County executive proposes $20 fee to fund roads

October 9, 2012

Unincorporated King County residents could pay a $20 vehicle license fee next year to shore up road maintenance in rural areas.

Dow Constantine

King County Executive Dow Constantine recommended the fee in the proposed 2013 budget. The fee is projected to raise $4.5 million to fund road projects in unincorporated areas, such as Klahanie, May Valley and Preston in the Issaquah area.

The alternative could mean reduced maintenance to correct problems, such as potholes, and a slower response during snow and ice storms.

Still, county leaders need about $50 million to $65 million per year to maintain the 1,500-mile road network in unincorporated King County.

“The fee won’t be enough, not by a long shot. But it’s the only remaining authority left to counties by the Legislature,” Constantine said in a Sept. 24 budget address to the King County Council. “The system for funding local transportation in Washington state is broken. Everybody knows it. We have a 1930s revenue system to fund 21st century transportation needs.”

Read more

King County adopts change to budget process

October 2, 2012

King County Council members adopted legislation Sept. 10 to integrated performance management and accountability into the upcoming county budget process.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, a budget team member and the Issaquah representative, said the step fits into the county’s effort to implement efficient practices, called Lean, into government.

“I am encouraged by the increased emphasis on the Lean processes that King County is implementing to improve productivity and provide better customer service,” she said in a statement.

The legislation created a Performance Management Action Team to make recommendations to the council regarding the link between performance management and accountability and the county budget process.

King County renames, reorganizes permitting agency

September 19, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 19, 2012

In response to changes in unincorporated King County, leaders renamed and reorganized the county permitting agency Monday, as officials prepare to relocate the permitting office from Renton to Snoqualmie.

In a unanimous decision, King County Council members approved a measure to reorganize the Department of Development and Environmental Services and rename the agency as the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review.

The responsibilities for the agency do not change with the reorganization and the name switch.

Officials plan to move the agency office closer to customers, and start shifting operations to Snoqualmie late next month.

Read more

Used vanpool vehicles return to service for nonprofit organizations

September 19, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 18, 2012

Leaders donated used vehicles from the King County Metro Transit vanpool fleet Monday to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, seniors and youths.

King County Council members authorized the donation. The vans served in the Metro Transit vanpool fleet for at least six years and reached the end of service life.

“Serving the mobility needs of those too young and too old to drive, as well as those with health challenges, is an important service for King County to provide,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert — Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman and the Issaquah representative — said in a statement. “Using our retired vanpool vans for these important transportation needs is an efficient way of serving those who do not have other options.”

Read more

King County launches ‘Smart911′ service to connect callers, responders

September 12, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 12, 2012

King County residents can soon upload personal information into a data service to assist 911 dispatchers and emergency responders.

The program, called Smart911, is a supplemental data service designed to allow residents to create personal safety profiles in a secure database. The information is meant to help crews find callers and assist in emergencies.

“With this new tool, 911 call-takers can locate callers and send help to the right place more efficiently,”King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “It’s especially effective for users of cellphones, whose locations cannot be pinpointed as they can with landlines.”

Smart911 is free for King County residents, and registration is voluntary.

Read more

King County expects layoffs, reduced road maintenance

September 4, 2012

King County expects to lay off 54 road workers and officials said the lack of attention on roads could mean further deterioration.

Dow Constantine

Kathy Lambert

Officials also plan to leave 11 vacant jobs unfilled — for a total reduction of 65 jobs in the county Road Services Division — due to a drop in tax revenues. The reduction is expected to go into effect early next year, as the 2013 budget goes into effect.

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the reductions Aug. 23. The loss of funding could mean reduced maintenance to correct problems, such as potholes, and a slower response during snow and ice storms.

The county is responsible for about 1,500 miles of roadway, but the reduction in revenue means less maintenance, especially of roads in rural areas.

The road overlay program is shrinking. Officials said only 11 miles of deteriorated roadway could be repaved before year’s end. In the next budget cycle, the county might not have any local funding for paving, unless officials gain additional revenue sources.

Read more

Leaders laud land program for 30 years of conservation

August 28, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 28, 2012

King County leaders highlighted the program used to preserve 111,000 acres of farmland, forests, parks and open space countywide, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Taylor Mountain near Issaquah.

In a recognition Monday, King County Council members marked 30 years of milestones in the Conservation Futures Program — a long-term effort to expand and maintain a open space.

In 1982, King County became the first county in the state to use Conservation Futures Funds. Cougar Mountain is the initial parkland purchased with program funds.

“It is important to preserve our open and natural spaces for recreation and reflection on our environmental heritage,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, said in a statement.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »