‘Your Voice, Your Choice”: Participatory budgeting focuses on community outreach, idea collection

King County’s participatory budgeting process is coming to the community – and it needs your involvement.

After spending the last six months creating the framework for how this new process will work, members of the Community Investment Budget Committee are now helping educate people about how they can help guide $10 million in investments in five urban unincorporated areas of King County.

Over the next few weeks, the committee members will hold online “Info Sessions” to help residents understand this process, known as “Your Voice, Your Choice.” These sessions are open to anyone who lives, works, plays or worships in these communities:

  • Skyway-West Hill
  • White Center-North Highline
  • East Federal Way
  • East Renton
  • Fairwood

Program Coordinator Gloria Briggs says she’s excited about 2022 because the committee’s work to date has produced a unique process that’s now in the hands of the larger community.

“Now we’re coming to the exciting part,” Briggs said. “The CIBC members can’t wait to share participatory budgeting with their neighbors. Ultimately, residents will nominate projects that they’re passionate about, and the community will vote on which projects receive funding.”

“CIBC members have already held virtual Info Sessions, appeared on podcasts and spoken at community meetings, and that’s just the start!”

(Listen to Gloria Briggs discuss participatory budgeting on a recent episode of the Inside White Center podcast here)

More on Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting allows communities to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects. Residents can help decide how to spend money on capital projects (physical things that are bought, built, installed, and/or fixed up), programs and services.

King County approved funding for this program in its current two-year (2021-2022) budget:

  • Skyway/West Hill: $3.9 million for capital projects, $810,000 for services and programs
  • North Highline/White Center: $3.1 million for capital projects, $540,000 for services and programs
  • East Federal Way: $1.96 million for capital projects
  • East Renton: $301,000 for capital projects
  • Fairwood: $720,000 for capital projects

The 21-member Community Investment Budget Committeedeveloped the participatory budget process in urban unincorporated King County. This marks the first time King County has used this community drive approach for its unincorporated areas.

Participatory budgeting has five phases: developing the rules, brainstorming ideas (February), developing ideas into project proposals (March-April), voting (May), and funding winning projects (June and onward). Your participation will make all the difference!

Who can participate? Anyone at least 12 years old who lives, works, owns a business, receives services, goes to school, or worships in any of the areas above.

Where does the money come from? The funds for the capital projects will be backed by bonds. The funds for services and programs in North Highline/White Center and Skyway-West Hill come from King County’s general fund and are supported by marijuana retail sales tax revenue.

How can I learn more, including upcoming “Info Sessions” for my neighborhood? The best way to get information about participatory budgeting is to visit www.publicinput.com/YourVoiceYourChoice. You can find information on upcoming sessions, get information on the participatory budgeting process and more!