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King County cities gain funding opportunity for localized flooding problems

The King County Flood Control Zone District approved a resolution at its Sept. 29 meeting that will ensure that every jurisdiction in the county has access to funds for local flooding and stormwater projects. According to the resolution, the $3.2 million “opportunity fund,” comprised of 10 percent of the county’s $32 million annual flood control levy, will be allocated to jurisdictions based upon contributions to the levy. Jurisdictions can use their share of the opportunity fund to address neighborhood flooding problems.

“I heard from many of my constituents that storms and flooding do not just affect the areas immediately around the county’s major rivers and streams,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, the prime sponsor of the opportunity fund. “These funds will allow cities to address localized projects and flood prevention activities that are unique to their communities.”

For example, according to current estimates, the opportunity fund in 2008 will provide the cities in Councilmember Ferguson’s district with dollars for local flooding projects:

• Bothell — $30,747

• Kenmore — $27,631

• Lake Forest Park — $20,820

• Seattle — $1,141,478

• Shoreline — $70,838

• Woodinville — $24,516

The King County Council created the Flood Control Zone District in April 2007 to protect the county against the adverse impacts of flooding. The district is responsible for developing a plan to fund the backlog of maintenance and repairs to King County’s aging system of 500 levees and hardened embankments. All nine members of the County Council sit as the district’s Board of Supervisors. The district levies a tax of $0.10 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

In the fall of 2007, the Board of Supervisors created the opportunity fund at Councilmember Ferguson’s request to address “subregional flooding problems unrelated to main stem rivers and large tributaries.” The board asked an advisory committee to develop an allocation method and qualification criteria for these funds. The resolution largely implements the recommendations of the advisory committee.

Specifically, the funds shall be distributed to jurisdictions in proportion to levy contributions. Additionally, jurisdictions are granted flexibility to use the funds for a wide variety of flooding and stormwater related projects and are able to flexibly determine project locations. Funding will be distributed to cities through interlocal agreements with the district.

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