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Thursday, September 23, 2021

King County Selects Community Investment Committee Members To Guide $10 Million Investments In Urban Unincorporated Areas

A new community-centered budget process is underway, with the selection of 21 committee members who will develop a $10 million investment plan in unincorporated King County. The committee will design and carry out a budgeting process that will be centered on racial equity. The process will build on community strengths and address specific priorities that these communities have identified.

“Centering communities in this budget process means that more voices will be a part of the process to invest in the future of unincorporated King County, and that’s going to lead to better processes, better connections between partners, and a bright future for everyone,” said King County Executive Constantine. “I want to thank the committee members for stepping up and helping chart the course.”

Over the two months, King County Local Services accepted applications from dozens of residents who were hoping to serve on the committee. The members represent the five urban unincorporated areas of West King County:

  • Skyway (five members)
  • White Center/North Highline (five members)
  • East Federal Way (five members)
  • Fairwood (three members)
  • East Renton Highlands (three members)

The committee held its first meeting on June 5 and will meet regularly to create the guidebook for Local Services’ “Participatory Budgeting” effort. Committee members will also engage the community in the participatory budgeting process.

“I’m really excited to have this opportunity to take a valuable resource and have it directed, by community, to make decisions about what’s best for folks in their community,” said Community Investment Committee Member Emijah Smith.

Below are the Community Investment Committee members and the areas they represent:

  • North Highline/White Center: Emijah Smith, Marissa Jauregui, Sahle Habte, Carmen Smith, Kimnag Seng
  • Skyway/West Hill: Ayanna Brown, Yvette Dinish, Curtis Taylor, Jamoni Owens, Rebecca Berry
  • East Federal Way: Trenise Rogers, Jimmy Brown, Serena Evans-Satoran, Anna Irungu, Zayda Quintana
  • East Renton: Ajala Wilson-Daraja, Yordanos Teferi, Deborah Eberle
  • Fairwood: Noni Ervin, Michelle Faltous, Elizabeth Singer

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. In King County Local Services’ case, this work will allow the community to decide how to spend the following two funds:

  • $10 million on capital projects in these urban unincorporated areas. The funds can be used for anything that needs to be built or replaced, like buildings, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, signs, and play structures.
  • $1.3 million for services or programs in Skyway/West Hill and North Highline/White Center. This funding can be used for almost anything, like after-school programs, job training, building maintenance, food, art supplies, and investments in play structures or sidewalks.

The committee will design and carry out a budgeting process that will be centered on racial equity. The process will build on community strengths and address specific priorities that these communities have identified.

The committee will also help design the larger Participatory Budgeting process to make sure that communities have control over how this money is spent and that funded projects will address real community challenges and have the most benefit. The committee will also be heavily engaged in collaborating with local community-based organizations and performing outreach to their respective communities.

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