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King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer
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News from and about King County… from COVID-19 updates to community news affecting our daily lives.

Dear Friends:

Today’s e-news includes information on upcoming closures on I-5 for Federal Way link construction, King County property tax bills, a weekly health update from our office, and more.

Washington Trivia

A graduate of Auburn High School and standout defensive lineman at the University of Washington, he was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. Who is he?

(Answer is at the bottom).

Closures on I-5 for Federal Way Link Construction

Crews working on the Federal Way Link Extension will be closing two lanes along southbound I-5 from South 288th Street to South 320th Street to set concrete barriers and build an access road for future light rail construction. The nighttime closures will take place from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. from February 23rd through February 25th.

Application Deadline Extended for Children & Youth Advisory Board’s PSTAA Subcommittee

The deadline to apply for the Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA) subcommittee has been extended to March 1st. PSTAA is a new source of education funding for King County. The committee will provide guidance to the King County Council and the Executive on the educational needs of King County youth. Subcommittee members will:

• Monitor the progress of PSTAA implementation in King County;
• Identify opportunities for alignment between PSTAA investments and other key initiatives and programs for children and youth in King County;
• Provide regular updates to the entire King County Children and Youth Advisory Board membership;
• Provide guidance to the King County Council and the Executive on the educational needs of King County youth; and,
• Make recommendations on proposed implementation actions and/or revisions to the Implementation Plan.

You can learn more about the subcommittee and access the application here.

King County Assessor Mails First Tax Bills Since Start of Pandemic

According to the Assessor’s Office, voter approval of special levies, in conjunction with a strong housing market, will generate a 4.03% general increase in King County property tax collections for 2021, although some jurisdictions will see larger increases.

Overall, countywide property tax collections for the 2021 tax year are $6.6 billion, an increase of $256 million from the previous year of $6.3 billion. Total County property value increased by 2.65%, from $642.5 billion to $659.5 billion between 2020 and 2021.

King County Treasury began sending out the annual property tax bills February 16th. King County collects property taxes on behalf of the state, the county, cities, and taxing districts (such as school and fire districts) and distributes the revenue to these local governments.

About 57% of 2021 King County property tax revenues pays for schools. Property taxes also fund voter-approved measures for veterans and seniors, fire protection, and parks. King County receives about 17% of your property tax payment for roads, police, criminal justice, public health, elections, and parks, among other services.

For seniors and the disabled, it is important to be aware of our state’s property tax relief programs. King County taxpayers who are 61 years or older, or disabled, own their home, and have an annual income of $58,423 or less after certain medical or long-term care expenses, may be eligible for tax relief. Taxpayers should visit this site for more information and to apply online. During 2020, the County saw a 300% increase in the number of residents applying for senior exemptions. The Assessor expects more homeowners to apply in 2021. Processing applications with staff working at home due to the pandemic has been a challenge, but the Assessor’s Office is working hard to swiftly process these applications.

Property owners can find tax levy rates and more property related information by visiting the eReal property search on the King County Assessor's website or by calling 206-296-7300.

American life expectancy experienced its biggest drop since World War II

According to a recent report by the New York Times, American life expectancy experienced tis biggest drop since World War II in the first six months of 2020, highlighting the toll of the pandemic. The report found that American life expectancy dropped to 77.8 years in 2020 from 78.8 years in 2019. You can read more at this link.

Weekly King County Health Update: Power out, throw it out?

According to this year’s Groundhog Day forecast, much of the U.S. will have a longer winter and the Pacific Northwest is no exception. Aside from the inclement weather, our winter storms often cause power outages that can make our refrigerated and frozen food unsafe to eat. Public Health – Seattle and King County and the CDC have important tips to help you with this issue:

BEFORE a power outage:

• Keep appliance thermometers in your refrigerator/freezer. Refrigerator temperatures should be 40°F or lower with freezers at 0°F or lower.
• Have frozen gel packs and a cooler handy in case you need to remove food from your refrigerator/freezer.
• Buy block or dry ice for your refrigerator if you think the power will be out for a longer time.

DURING a power outage:

• Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed - food will stay safe for up to 4 hours in the refrigerator, 48 hours in a full freezer, and 24 hours in a half-full freezer.
• If the power has been out for 4 hours, put perishable foods in a cooler with a cold source like ice or frozen gel packs. Keep the food temperature at 40°F or below.

Foods to be concerned about are in 3 categories:

• Potentially hazardous – included are meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs and egg products, soft cheeses, cooked beans, cooked rice, cooked potatoes, cooked pasta, potato/pasta/macaroni salads, custards, puddings, and similar other foods.
• Not hazardous but quality is impacted by higher temperatures – included are salad dressings, mayonnaise, butter, margarine, produce, hard cheeses, and similar other foods.
• Safe foods – included are carbonated beverages, unopened bottled juices, ketchup, mustard, relishes, jams, peanut butter, barbecue sauce, and similar items.

How to know when food is unsafe to eat: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!

• Never rely on appearance, odor, or taste to gauge whether a food is safe to eat. Bacteria that cause food poisoning can build up in warmer foods.
• Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator (meat, fish, cut fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and leftovers) after 4 hours without power or a cold source like dry ice. Any foods with an unusual odor, color, or texture should be thrown out also.
• Using a food thermometer, check the temperatures of all your foods in your cooler or refrigerator with an added cold source. Throw out any food above 40°F.
• Thawed frozen food that still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below can be eaten or refrozen.

AFTER a power outage

• Wait until your refrigerator reaches a temperature of less than 40°F before re-stocking any food.

King County COVID Vaccination Update

As of yesterday, there were 287,623 first dose and 112,938 second dose vaccines administered among King County residents, bringing the total of all administered doses to 400,561. For more information, visit the King County COVID Vaccination Dashboard here.

Phase Finder: To assess your eligibility to receive COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the Washington Department of Health Phase Finder web form.

Register by phone: For assistance on registering by phone, call Washington state’s COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press # for help with registration by phone.

Other Vaccine Locations: Visit Washington Department of Health’s website for other vaccine locations in the state. If you have any questions, contact COVID.Vaccine@doh.wa.gov.

King County Case Update

Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 178 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 80,635. In addition, Public Health reported 2 new deaths, bringing the total in the county to 1,331.

Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember

Washington trivia answer:

Danny Shelton, a first team All-American in college and a Super Bowl champion was a standout defensive lineman at the University of Washington and has played in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, and Detroit Lions.

Shelton graduated from Auburn High School in 2011. He also won the state 4A shot put championship as a senior in high school.

Compiled by Cyndee Navarro of my office.

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Contact me: pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov
206-477-1007, 800-325-6165, TTY/TDD 206-296-1024
Website: www.kingcounty.gov/vonReichbauer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pete.vonreichbauer

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