Dollars and cents dominated discussions Thursday night as King County Councilman Reagan Dunn addressed members of the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce.
Dunn – whose 9th District includes Enumclaw and Black Diamond and stretches north to Bellevue – was quick to distance himself from much of the county’s hierarchy.
“I do not see myself as in insider,” Dunn said early in his remarks. “I see myself as a representative of the people.”
And the people of King County, he said, should be concerned about the financial situation their government is in.
“It’s not exactly a very happy picture right now,” Dunn said. “The county is in bad shape, really bad shape.”
Even worse that a $93 million general fund deficit, he said, is the fact that “we should have been in a position to handle it.” He complained that the Executive Ron Sims and the council majority took $63 million from a reserve fund during a span of three years.
Since he joined the council in 2005, Dunn said, the council has approved nine tax increases, emphasizing that not everyone is served when dollars get spent.
“Everyone out here is paying for passenger-only ferry service to Vashon Island,” he said, suggesting that not many Enumclaw residents are regular foot passengers on the Vashon run.
Dunn discussed the county‚Äôs 10-day furlough program in which all employees will be forced to take 10 days of unpaid leave during the coming year. It’s a move to save money, but Dunn isn’t a fan.
“I have a huge problem with it, because those are 10 days the county is not delivering services to it citizens,” he said.
Dunn said he would have preferred that the savings came through tougher negotiations with union employees, who received a 4.8 percent cost-of-living increase.
He said a “big victory,” in the 2009 budget process was getting money to continue funding the King County Fair. Sims, suggesting the fair had run its course, had recommended that it be discontinued.
“In my opinion, King County has been running the fair into the ground,” Dunn said, citing attendance figures that dropped from 60,000 five years ago to just 16,000 in July.
A task force charged with developing a new, self-sustaining model for the fair will begin meeting soon, Dunn said.
Reach Kevin Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8205.