What a first year!
Our goals were clear: create a department and begin delivering improved government services to the diverse residents and businesses of unincorporated King County.
We took that and ran with it, retooling how the county listens to residents, works collaboratively with them, and acts in their communities.
Here are 19 accomplishments we racked up in 2019:
- Created a new department. First, we stood up this new department to better serve residents and businesses in unincorporated King County. It includes the Road Services and Permitting divisions as well as the county’s Community Service Areas program.
- Responded to a big winter storm. February 2019 saw three countywide winter snow storms over 16 days, during which Road Services plowed and sanded more than 28,000 lane miles of roadway.
- Launched an Economic Development Program for unincorporated King County. In April, we hired Hugo Garcia to help our unincorporated communities thrive. His efforts included holding a forum for potential developers, surveying business districts, and mailing welcome packets to new businesses.
- Launched Conservation Corps pilot program. We partnered with the Millionair Club Charity and the county’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks on a six-month pilot project to clean up White Center, Skyway, Fairwood, and East Federal Way.
- Took over operation of the Vashon Community Van in August.
- Held our first Community Service Area Summit. We brought together community leaders from throughout unincorporated King County to share ideas about working collaboratively in 2020.
- Collaborated with Public Health-Seattle & King County to bring septic system staff members to the Permitting Division office. To help simplify the permitting process for residents, Public Health Onsite Sewer & Septic Permit Specialists were available at the Permitting office in Snoqualmie for several days each week.
- Offered regular weekly “field office” hours in each of our community service areas, providing residents with local, in-person help accessing county services and information.
- Held new and improved Town Halls. Working with our partners agencies, we held 10 Town Hall meetings in the unincorporated areas. Representatives from other King County agencies explained the services they provide and responded to questions and comments from residents.
- Attended more than 500 community meetings and events in unincorporated King County.
- Worked with county leaders to increase our snow removal capacity during major storms. The King County Council unanimously approved a plan to contract for on-call snow removal, which could add 70 center-line miles to the Road Services Division’s snow routes in unincorporated King County.
- Completed the West Hill Subarea Plan and began work on the North Highline Subarea Plan.Our staff worked extensively with residents in these communities to make sure their input is reflected in plans for future land use.
- Road Services completed several capital projects, including five bridge priority maintenance projects, five school zone safety projects, 48 guardrail construction projects, 345 guardrail preservation projects, and five drainage projects.
- Introduced a far-reaching approach to communication. The department created a website and bulked up its social media presence, including a new Instagram account and the use of Facebook Live to reach residents. Subscriptions to our monthly e-newsletter grew from just over 7,000 to more than 10,000.
- Developed quarterly service delivery reports with information about county government services that are specific to unincorporated King County.
- Updated the Permitting Division website. The division has put many of its permit application types online, saving trips to apply in person and making documents more accessible.
- Permitting instructional videos and customer service improvements. The Permitting Division made videos available to educate customers on how to use their services. They extended their customer service hours and integrated them with other department systems.
- Resurfaced 45 miles of pavement throughout the county, and repaired 1/3 of a mile of sidewalks in Skyway and White Center.
- Road Services was recognized with several regional awards. The Division took home the Quality in Construction Award from National Asphalt Paving Association, the first place Quality Award from the Washington Asphalt Paving Association, and the Engineer of the Year award (for Director Rick Brater) from the Washington State Association of County Engineers.