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Sunday, October 2, 2022

County Council Approves $631 Million Emergency COVID Budget

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.

The supplemental budget proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine includes $337 million from the Rescue Act, as well as $247 million in state and FEMA funds, and $16 million from the County’s General Fund.

Constantine’s spending proposal includes three key priorities: continuing and expanding the public health response (approximately 42 percent), community supports (33 percent), and jobs and economic recovery (22 percent). The balance is administration and other costs. 

“From funding the next phase of our COVID response, to economic recovery investments in Black, brown, indigenous and other communities of color, this budget is a $630 million bet on the future of King County,” said Constantine.

“The investments in this emergency budget will help every community in King County turn this moment of recovery into an opportunity to make a permanent and positive difference for all people,” he continued. “As rental assistance, community resiliency, and jobs programs get started in the weeks and months ahead, I’m confident everyone in King County will see the opportunities for our communities to revive and thrive, together.”

According to Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the Council Budget Chair, 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 Kohl-Welles. “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.”

The major spending areas include:

Community Supports (e.g. food security, rental assistance, etc.)$255 million
Vaccination Efforts including mass vaccination sites$117 million
Public Health Response to the pandemic$114 million
Economic Recovery / Jobs$67 million
County Operations in response to the pandemic$41 million
Arts, Entertainment, Culture and Science$36 million

“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.”

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