Nearly a year after King County embarked on a new process that gives communities the power to choose how money is invested in their neighborhoods, residents will get the chance to learn about the community projects that could come to their areas.
The Community Investment Budgeting Committee, the group of residents from King County’s urban unincorporated areas that created the framework for the new Participatory Budgeting process, will lead a pair of virtual Project Expo Community Meetings on May 23-24.
Those who attend these online meetings will learn about the dozens of project ideas that were submitted by the public earlier this year. Both meetings are scheduled from 5-7 p.m., and take place via Zoom:
- Skyway and White Center/North Highline areas: May 23
- East Federal Way, East Renton and Fairwood areas: May 24
For Zoom login and for more information, please visit www.publicinput.com/yourvoiceyourchoice.
These meetings will prepare residents for when they will get to vote on which projects will receive funding during a “Community Vote” scheduled for June. Details on the public vote will emerge in the coming weeks.
“It has been really exciting to work with new community leaders throughout unincorporated King County. I am truly proud of the community-led process we have built, and to think we did it all virtually! Participatory budgeting is a transformative process that will be impactful in our communities and the future of unincorporated King County.”Participatory Budgeting Program Manager Gloria Briggs
Below is our official flyer for the two events:
Shaping the framework
Briggs says it’s remarkable the program has the point where it’s presenting project ideas and preparing for the community to vote on them, given the county’s Participatory Budgeting process isn’t even a year old.
The Community Investment Budget Committee (the group of community members who are guiding participatory budgeting in unincorporated King County) is now in its proposal development phase.
The committee is working with more than 40 community members to rate and prioritize ideas submitted by the public earlier this year and turn them into project proposals. These project proposals will be shared with the public and placed on a ballot. Then community members will vote in June on which project proposals to fund.
To date, it’s received an assortment of project ideas, including requests for sidewalks, community art, community gardens (see photo), and various youth programs.
Work to date
In 2020, the King County Council approved a new approach to community investment – one that’s centered on racial equity. It aimed to give people who live, work, play and worship in the county’s five unincorporated areas the chance to choose how $10 million is spent. Below is a timeline:
- June 2021: Convened 21-member steering committee
- December 2021: Completed design of the participatory budgeting process in selected unincorporated areas of King County.
- February 2022: Community submitted ideas on how to spend monies
- March 2022: The program identifies 40 community volunteers commit to serve as “Proposal Advocates” to help build selected ideas into detailed proposals that will go to ballot for community vote
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 Community Investment Budget Committee developed 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-May), voting (June), 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? 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.