Following a public hearing on Sept. 19, the Kirkland City Council voted 6-1 to pass Resolution R-5270 expressing its support to King County Proposition No. 1, Levy Lid Lift for Veterans, Seniors and Vulnerable Populations.
“Rarely have I felt so good about a levy lid lift,” said Councilmember Penny Sweet, who is also a board member on the King County Economic Development Council. “This is important work. It’s affecting Kirkland citizens. We’ve seen the good works that come of it. I don’t see that I could do anything other than support this.”
The original Veterans and Human Services Levy was passed by the voters of King County in 2005 to generate funding to help veterans, military personnel and their families and other individuals and families in need across the county through a variety of housing and supportive services. The levy was renewed in 2011, and the current levy will expire at the end of this year. The levy funds health and human services such as housing assistance, mental health counseling, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and employment assistance. The levy also funds capital facilities and improved access to and coordination of services for veterans, military personnel and their families.
“I see the need as very great,” said Councilmember Jon Pascal, chair of the Public Works, Parks and Human Services Council Committee. “We all know this is a regional problem, and we participate in a regional solution. I’m more than happy to vote in favor of this.”
“I also really appreciate the efforts of all of my colleagues to talk about housing, and I think we’ve made a difference,” said Mayor Amy Walen. “We’ve been heard because there’s significant money here for housing, and that is a win. I think it would be a tragedy if this levy was not renewed.”
Councilmember Toby Nixon was the only council member to vote no.
“Consistent with my many previous votes on similar resolutions, I will vote no on this resolution,” Nixon said. “But I want to be clear, as I always try to make clear in previous instances, I’m not suggesting people vote against this levy. I’m simply saying that people should be allowed to decide for themselves, and that the City of Kirkland should not take a position.”