King County Council adopts ‘stable and balanced’ 2012 budget

November 15, 2011

In a unanimous decision Nov. 9, King County Council members adopted a $5.2 billion budget for 2012 focused on basic human needs, such as food and shelter, and maintenance for aging roads in rural and unincorporated areas.

The total includes a $650 million general fund budget — dollars for elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. Leaders did not tap reserves for the 2012 spending plan.

“This stable and balanced budget is a product of a decadelong effort to respond to shrinking revenues by cutting costs while maintaining our high bond ratings through sound fiscal management,” Councilman Larry Phillips said.

The budget outlines a plan for some streets in rural and unincorporated areas near Issaquah to receive reduced maintenance and a lower priority for snow removal.

In turn, King County plans to shift attention to heavily traveled roads, such as Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast.

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King County Council adopts ‘stable and balanced’ 2012 budget

November 9, 2011

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Nov. 9, 2011

In a unanimous decision Wednesday, King County Council members adopted a $5.2 billion budget for 2012 focused on basic human needs, such as food and shelter, and maintenance for aging roads in rural and unincorporated areas.

The total includes a $650 million general fund budget — dollars for elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. Leaders did not tap reserves for the 2012 spending plan.

“This stable and balanced budget is a product of a decade-long effort to respond to shrinking revenues by cutting costs while maintaining our high bond ratings through sound fiscal management,” Councilman Larry Phillips said.

The budget outlines a plan for some streets in rural and unincorporated areas near Issaquah to receive reduced maintenance and a lower priority for snow removal.

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King County Council celebrates University of Washington’s 150th anniversary

November 1, 2011

King County Council members and Prosecutor Dan Satterberg join University of Washington President Michael Young to recognize the university's 150th anniversary Oct. 31. Contributed

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 1, 2011

King County leaders, including many University of Washington alumni, celebrated the institution’s 150th anniversary Monday.

UW alumni County Executive Dow Constantine and Prosecutor Dan Satterberg joined County Council members to present a special recognition to UW President Michael Young. The elected leaders touted the UW as a top research institution in the United States and reminisced about the university.

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Officials tout Metro Transit savings amid King County budget talks

October 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 21, 2011

Officials said King County Metro Transit is on track after declines in sales tax revenues battered the regional transit agency.

The agency’s budget is part of the King County Council’s ongoing deliberations about the 2012 county budget. The council is scheduled to adopt the spending plan in late November.

For Metro Transit, earlier savings related to cuts and efficiencies resulted in about $400 million in savings — including $143 million in ongoing annual savings. The proposed 2012-13 budget for Metro Transit adds $18.2 million in additional efficiencies through staff reductions, space consolidation, pension reductions and health care savings.

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Issaquah, King County leaders pay tribute to late Gov. Albert Rosellini

October 10, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. Oct. 10, 2011

Issaquah leaders lowered flags at City Hall and other municipal buildings Monday to commemorate the death of former Gov. Albert D. Rosellini.

Rosellini, governor from 1957 to 1965, died Monday at 101. Gov. Chris Gregoire called for flags at public buildings across the state be lowered to half-staff.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger, King County Executive Dow Constantine and other local leaders offered tributes to the late governor.

“He was widely respected and regarded, I think, with affection amongst people,” Frisinger said. “I saw a very long and full life.”

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King County Council donates ‘retired’ vans to nonprofit groups

September 18, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 18, 2011

King County Council members agreed to donate 27 “retired” vanpool vehicles to nonprofit organizations, so the vehicles can aid senior citizens, youths and others through local programs.

Kathy Lambert

Reagan Dunn

The vans served in King County Metro Transit’s vanpool fleet for at least six years and reached the end of service. The county considers the vans as surplus, and then donates or sells the vehicles.

The council agreed to the donation in a unanimous decision Sept. 12.

“With little county funding available to support human services, these retired vans are one way we still can help nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, said in a statement. “These vans will continue to serve the public in new ways throughout their useful lives.”

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King County leaders commit $1.4 million to combat gangs

September 13, 2011

Lake Sammamish State Park shootout influences decision

King County leaders bolstered efforts to combat street gangs late last month and directed $1.4 million from a law-enforcement emergency fund to confront a rise in gang violence.

The funds aid prosecutors, sheriff’s deputies and community organizations in anti-gang efforts. The county intends to add three deputy prosecutors and a paralegal focused solely on gang-related cases. Plans call for the King County Sheriff’s Office to receive additional equipment and training.

Dow Constantine

Kathy Lambert

County Council members created the law-enforcement emergency fund last year to address unforeseen criminal justice needs.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, joined County Executive Dow Constantine, Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and other leaders Aug. 30 to announce the initiative. The council agreed to fund the initiative a week later.

“We want King County to be a family-friendly and gang-unfriendly area,” she said after the announcement. “We’re taking this very seriously. We’re not putting up with it.”

Lambert said the gang-related shootout at Lake Sammamish State Park in July 2010 also influenced the decision to confront gang violence. The lethal gun battle left a 33-year-old Kent man and a 30-year-old Seattle man dead.

“It used to be that gangs had a neighborhood that they lived in and now they go all over the place,” she said.

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King County Council increases rate for garbage pickup

September 12, 2011

NEW — 8 p.m. Sept. 12, 2011

The cost for garbage pickup in Issaquah and elsewhere in King County is due to increase by about 80 cents per month next year.

King County Council members approved the rate increase Monday as part of a long-term effort to upgrade the solid waste system.

Under the updated system, the basic rate for commercial vehicles, such as garbage trucks, is $109 per ton. The current rate is $95 per ton.

The average customer putting out a single can for pickup should pay about 80 cents more per month next year.

For people hauling loads to county transfer stations, the rate is due to increase to $17.49 per load from $15.31 per load.

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Leaders announce $1.4 million effort to combat gang violence

August 31, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 31, 2011

King County leaders bolstered efforts to combat street gangs Monday and directed $1.4 million from a law-enforcement emergency fund to confront a rise in gang violence.

Kathy Lambert

Kathy Lambert

The funds aid prosecutors, sheriff’s deputies and community organizations in anti-gang efforts. The county intends to add three deputy prosecutors and a paralegal focused solely on gang-related cases. Plans call for the King County Sheriff’s Office to receive additional equipment and training.

County Council members created the law-enforcement emergency fund last year to address unforeseen criminal justice needs.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, joined County Executive Dow Constantine, Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and other leaders Monday to announce the initiative.

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County seeks residents’ input on proposed transit cuts

July 5, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. July 5, 2011

Offer input to King County leaders as the County Council considers cuts to bus service and a proposed charge to stave off such cuts.

The council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee is hosting a series hearings to listen to public testimony on the proposed Metro Transit service cuts sent to the council by County Executive Dow Constantine.

The committee scheduled meetings in Kirkland, Seattle and Burien from Wednesday to July 21.

“King County has a choice of cutting 17 percent of our transit service — taking the system back to 1996 service levels — or preserving current service levels by enacting a $20 congestion reduction charge on vehicles in King County,” Councilman Larry Phillips, committee chairman, said in a statement. “These meetings are an opportunity for the public to learn about the proposed service cuts and weigh in on the future of Metro transit.”

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