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Area Council July monthly meeting recap | Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council

The Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council held its monthly meeting on July 7. The main topics this month were public safety, King County Community Service Areas, and King County roads issues and solutions.

Major Thompson of Precinct 3 spoke at the meeting on impacts of budget cuts on local police coverage, including reduced staffing levels. There are now only two deputies south of Kent-Kangley Road and only two deputies between Maple Valley Highway and Kent-Kangley. This is an approximately 33 percent reduction from five ears ago at the onset of the recession. King County has limited budget authority for police services as provided to it by state law, as compared to incorporated cities. This causes the Sheriff's Office to work with a perpetual shortfall, thus causing a prioritization of services which can be rendered to the public.

Community Service Areas

Alan Painter, manager of the King County Community Service Area program, discussed the program, which has been in existence since 2012. CSAs offer expanded ways for King County to engage with residents who live outside city boundaries. There are 7 CSAs and the area council is part of the Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River Area CSA.

The program awards grants to local organizations, including the area council. It also publishes a monthly unincorporated area newsletter which can be accessed at your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/newsletters/ua-news.htm. In addition the program facilitates speakers from various King County offices for area council meetings, giving members of the public opportunities to talk directly with King County officials.

Transportation solutions

A task force of the area council's Transportation Committee and member of the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council has researched key issues, developed target goals, and proposed potential solutions to four major concerns with the continued maintenance and safety of King County's road network, as well as those policies and laws that tend to hinder government officials.

The four areas of concern, each of which address aspects which affect planning and funding of transportation infrastructure are: annexation debt transfer, concurrency adequacy, usage/funding imbalance, can forecasting rigor.

The county currently faces a broken transportation funding model that directly impacts economic growth, public safety, and the region's infrastructure. The area council believes to sustainable address these issues requires changes to state law.

King County is unique in that is possesses many unincorporated and rural roads critical to the local economy of many cities due to commute and business traffic. Unfortunately, that very infrastructure is at risk. For example, the 2014 King County road budget is 40 percent less than it was in 2008. This has caused King County to defer many maintenance projects out into the future, which adversely affects public safety on already overcrowded roads, as well as our local and regional economy.

The area council voted to approve the task force's plan and to invite state legislators who represent King County rural area citizens and who also serve on either House or Senate transportation committees to a meeting to discuss the four areas of concern and potential solutions. That meeting, tentatively planned for mid September, will be open tot he public. When finalized, a formal announcement will be posted on the area council's website and in the local newspapers.

Next area council meeting

The area council's next monthly meeting will be held from 7-9 pm. on Monday, Aug. 4 at the fire station at the southeast corner of 231st St. and state Route 169. Meetings are held the first non-holiday Monday of each month.

For more information on the area council visit www.greatermaplevalleyareacouncil.org.

Note: There are currently two positions open on the 16-member area council. IF you live in the Tahoma School District outside the city of Maple Valley you are eligible to apply. Those interested can send a brief letter of interest to GMVUAC, P.O. Box 101, Maple Valley, WA 98038 or email gmvac_chair@hotmail.com.

 

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