Northwest NEWS

December 25, 2000

Features

County Council adopts 2001 budget

After nine weeks of analysis, public testimony, discussion and debate, and negotiation with the County Executive, the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously adopted the County's 2001 budget on Friday, Dec. 15. It sets total County spending at approximately $2.45 billion, with a General Fund budget of just over $490 million. The budget increases 2001 property taxes by 1-1/2 percent, the smallest increase in county history.
   District One Councilmember Maggi Fimia, who represents the North Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and Bothell areas said, "Our 2001 budget focuses County resources on priorities by cutting overhead and funding direct services to the public."
   At the regional level, some of the highlights of 2001 budget blueprint include:
   * Restoring deep funding cuts proposed by the Executive to senior centers, human services, and community health clinics, while fully funding public safety;
   * Funding more than $53 million in road projects, part of a six-year improvement program that totals over $435 million. This is the largest six- year construction plan in the County's history. The budget funds pedestrian safety improvements in older neighborhoods of unincorporated King County;
   * Funding important capital improvements to the Metro bus system, including upgrades to the Park and Ride system;
   * Delaying action on the bus fare increase proposed by the County Executive so that the Council could analyze other options; and
   * Making critical investments in the environment by funding more than $19 million in parks, open space, and conservation projects.
   In District One, $500,000 in seed money (can be matched) was allocated to purchase the Magnolia Dairy Farm property located in Bothell.
   "This unique property situated in the heart of a suburban community and adjacent to Bothell High School has come on the market at just the right time," Fimia said. "We have an incredible opportunity to partner with a new community group, Magnolia Dairy A.C.R.E.S., to preserve a bit of our heritage while creating hands-on opportunities for our youth and adults to learn sustainable farming practices."
   Design and construction of safety improvements to the segment of the Burke-Gilman Trail traversing Lake Forest Park will benefit from an appropriation of $300,000.
   The Thornton Creek Project will receive $31,390 to support its applied learning environmental program.
   "This is a truly remarkable project and a model for similar efforts in highly urbanized areas. Fish and people can co-exist. This project has proven it," commented Fimia, a longtime supporter.
   Educational, cultural, recreational, human services, and youth scholarship programs in Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Bothell were allocated $82,290 to supplement projects for at-risk youth and teenage parents, and to support youth councils in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and Northshore.
   Additionally, a fund of nearly $20,000 was established to fund other youth-related, direct service projects. Organizations are encouraged to apply for small grants of up to $2,499 for this purpose.
   "Given the voters' demand that government hold the line on property tax increases and deliver greater value for their tax dollars, the Council was faced with some very difficult budget decisions for 2001. I believe we met that challenge honestly and effectively, while meeting our mandate as a regional government," concluded Fimia.