Residents gather to discuss the priorities for the King County Strategic Plan Thursday July 30 at the last of four scheduled workshops conducted by the Office of Strategic Planning and Performance Management.
Citizens tell county officials what should be priority for 'strategic plan'
About 20 individuals from all around the Seattle area came together to discuss the services they value most at the King County Community Workshop as part of the Countywide Strategic Plan, Thursday July 30 at the Hall of Fauntleroy.
“It’s a conversation,” said Elissa Benson from the King Count Office of Strategic Planning and Performance Management (OSPPM). “We want to hear from folks before we start writing.”
The goal of the meeting is to get community feedback in order to “to guide policy and budget decisions over the next five years,” according to OSPPM.
Prior to the meetings, OSPPM conducted a county-wide survey of approximately 1,000 residents on the satisfaction of King County services. However, Michael Jacobson, manager for OSPPM, said the workshops “you can give us additional quality information with a little more depth.”
Most of the participants had slightly different priorities in terms of the services they valued the most and those that needed improvements.
The survey found the most important services are: 911 and Medic One Services with 46 percent, public health protection with 36 percent and King County Metro Transit with 24 percent.
The most important regional priories of the next five years are: improving the education system with 38 percent, improving public safety with 30 percent and effective public transportation with 27 percent.
These survey results are a preliminary draft of the report and not yet available online.
Jacobson clarified that the “improving education” is in terms of making sure kids are healthy and safe so they can do well in school.
Jacobson also added it is “no surprise” transportation and safety issues are “high priorities," given they have received so much media attention. He added that accountability and transparency of county decisions, environmental protection and growth management were also high on the list.
All of these were concerns echoed by residents at the meeting.
For Melvin Mackey from Vashon Island, acting as a “model for reducing global warming and developing resilience to reduced energy supplies, especially oil,” was his biggest concern.
“Improvements of health and safety,” such as mental health facilities and jails were a high priority for Gene Wan from the University District.
Many also mentioned transportation, especially between neighborhoods as well as urban to downtown areas.
Matt King from Maple Leaf found it “difficult form the public standpoint to see how country budget as a whole functions.”
This last point came up in every group discussion; the connection of revenue sources, and the cost of mandated as well as desired services.
It’s about the “connections between the taxes I pay and the services I see,” said King.
The point all seemed to agree on was that parks and green spaces is a service the public is very satisfied with. This was also true in the survey, which had 71 percent approval.
In terms of solutions Mackey said “collaboration and cooperation to the improve the commons.”
Pat Price added, “compassion should guide policy and decisions.”
This was the last of four workshop meetings, but the county is planning to schedule more, which will specifically target underrepresented groups, such as Latino and Chinese communities, in August and September.