Executive details new Dept. of Local Services in proposed 2019-2020 budget

The new Department of Local Services, established by ordinance last week by the King County Council, is now part of the 2019-2020 King County budget which Executive Dow Constantine this week proposed to the Council.

In formalizing the new department, the Executive highlighted several key investments he is proposing to improve the coordination and delivery of services in unincorporated King County, including:

  • Services to stimulate economic development in unincorporated area communities.
  • Additional resources to develop land-use plans for unincorporated King County’s Community Service Areas (or subareas).
  • Funding to continue the Road Rangers program, which allows the County to respond to community concerns and extend the life of roadways through timely repairs.
  • Investments to ensure the long-term safety of bridges in unincorporated King County.
  • Restoring salmon access to stream habitat currently blocked by culverts and other infrastructure.

As part of his budget submittal, the Executive released this video that touches on the new Department of Local Services.

As specified in the authorizing legislation, the Executive will work in partnership with each County Council district to focus on coordinating, enhancing and improving municipal services provided to the unincorporated areas, to help ensure they get the County services they need and their voices are heard.

The Executive released a detailed Budget Briefing paper, copied below, which you can also download as a two-page PDF for printout:

2019-2020 Proposed Budget
Department of Local Services

To improve the coordination and delivery of services in both urban and rural unincorporated areas, King County has established a new Department of Local Services (DLS).

OVERVIEW

King County is the local service provider for roughly 250,000 people in the unincorporated areas of the county. Taken together, unincorporated King County would be the second-largest city in the state.

The new Department of Local Services will provide an additional point of accountability for residents of unincorporated King County, to help ensure they get the County services they need and their voices are heard.

The new department will include:

  • DLS Director’s Office (including Community Service Area program)
  • Permitting Division
  • Road Services Division

2019-2020 PRIORITIES

Creating a new customer-focused department with a charge unlike any other in King County presents a number of challenges in realigning existing services and systems to better serve the policy and operational needs of the unincorporated areas of the county.

Priorities in 2019-2020 will include:

  • Improving coordination of local services by King County agencies through increased collaboration.
  • Strengthening and expanding partnerships between the county communities and other entities.
  • Improving the delivery, responsiveness, and quality of local services to the people, businesses, and communities of unincorporated King County through unified accountability.
  • Improving local services through robust employee engagement while embracing equity and social justice and continuous improvement.
  • Strengthening unincorporated communities by supporting local planning and community initiatives.
  • Pursuing innovative funding strategies.

KEY INVESTMENTS

In addition to formalizing the new department, the Executive is proposing key investments to improve services in unincorporated King County, including:

  • Services to stimulate economic development in unincorporated area communities.
  • Additional resources to develop land-use plans for unincorporated King County’s Community Service Areas (or subareas).
  • Funding to continue the Road Rangers program, which allows the County to respond to community concerns and extend the life of roadways through timely repairs.
  • Investments to ensure the long-term safety of bridges in unincorporated King County.
  • Restoring salmon access to stream habitat currently blocked by culverts and other infrastructure.

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE

As part of its effort to improve services for residents, DLS partnered with County agencies to develop product catalogs as a building block to track the cost and quality of services in unincorporated King County. DLS and agencies will use the product catalogs to better understand and improve the quality and quantity of programs and services provided. In 2019, DLS will begin annual reporting on the metrics tracked in the product catalogs—a more formal approach to tracking services than the County has used in the past.