A seventh round of emergency funding in response to COVID-19, this time totaling more than $631 million, was approved Tuesday by the King County Council by a vote of 8-1. Councilmember Regan Dunn was the dissenting vote.
Record COVID-19 Emergency Funding Budget
The supplemental budget, funded largely by the American Rescue Plan Act, is larger than all previous King County COVID budgets combined and will provide support for a variety of services as King County looks toward recovery from the pandemic and its many collateral impacts. These investments align with the Council’s set priorities around housing stability and homelessness services, food security and access, mental and behavioral health, economic recovery, and workforce support, childcare and access to justice.
“Today we passed the largest supplemental budget in the history of King County. This is transformational — providing support for the mother struggling to provide for her child, for the renter on the edge of eviction, for the business owner getting relief from the new BIPOC economic resiliency fund, for the survivor of sexual assault or gender-based violence seeking justice, and many, many more,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who is also budget chair. “I appreciate the ambitiousness of Executive Dow Constantine’s budget, and the collaboration of my colleagues in crafting this budget. Our work is not finished but these investments will help us find our way out of this extraordinary challenge.”
Major Spending Areas Include:
Of the total, $367 million will come from King County’s allocation of ARPA funds, $16 million from the General Fund, and $249 million from various revenue sources included state and FEMA grants. You can read the full legislation here.
“As more people are vaccinated, it seems we may be at the beginning of the end of one of the most horrendous, unnerving, and challenging times in our history,” Kohl-Welles said. “But COVID isn’t going away completely and people in our region are still suffering, especially in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID, including refugee, immigrant, and BIPOC communities. This is why today’s passage of this supplemental budget is so critical, and I am proud to have supported it.”
Councilmember Dunn Condemns Budget
“Today I voted no on the seventh COVID-19 supplemental budget because it fails to fund the most basic functions of our County government — criminal justice and public safety. We have heard from the Sheriff’s Office, the Prosecutor’s Office, and sitting judges of the King County Superior and District Courts about the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the criminal justice system’s ability to operate. We are seeing an unprecedented backlog in both violent and non-violent felony cases, an 86% increase in murders, and a significant increase in hate and bias crimes. With the facts before us, the safety of our community is at stake with no relief in sight—and that is unacceptable. We cannot lose sight of our basic job as elected County leaders, and I believe that this budget has.”
The above is a press release from King County Council. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its content.