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County Council to bring town hall meetings to Carnation

The Metropolitan King County Council is the primary local government for the 137,000 residents of rural unincorporated King County. On Monday, Sept. 25, the council is bringing local government directly to its rural constituents at a special "Town Hall" meeting near Carnation.

The meeting will be held in Helena's Lodge at the Girl Scout Camp River Ranch, 33300 N.E. 32nd St., Carnation. The public is invited to meet with King County Council members at an informal reception starting at 9:30 a.m. The Town Hall meeting will begin at 10 a.m.

"This Town Hall is an opportunity for the entire council to hear directly from the rural residents we represent," said Councilmember Larry Gossett, chair of the council's Committee-of-the-Whole. "Residents and rural leaders will have the chance to talk to us on their home turf."

"This Town Hall is a celebration of the rural communities that are the heart of King County," said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, whose district is hosting the Town Hall. "Many rural residents believe that county government has lost touch with their needs. I want this meeting to be a first step in trying to restore a true dialogue between rural communities and all the people who are supposed to be providing services and watching out for their interests."

The Town Hall will feature a round-table discussion of rural mayors including Duvall Mayor Will Ibershof, North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson. The mayors will share the issues facing their cities and how partnerships with county government can be strengthened.

Rural cities are the primary local government for their residents, but partner with the county on a wide range of issues to better serve local residents.

Council members and local residents will also receive a briefing on the Rural Economic Strategies report, a plan for advancing the long-term economic viability of the rural areas. The report was developed in coordination with the Rural Forest Commission, the Agricultural Commission, interested rural citizens and other stakeholders.

The first package of proposed code amendments stemming from the report were introduced Aug. 31 and are currently pending before the council. If adopted, these changes would make it easier to conduct resource-based and other economic development activities in the rural area. Ray Moser, King County's manager of economic development, and Julia Larson, King County's rural economic strategy coordinator, will be present.

Audience members will have an opportunity to question presenters and panelists. At the conclusion of business, the council will also take public testimony on any issue.

Representatives from several King County departments that provide services to unincorporated residents will be in attendance and available to discuss issues with the public.

The Town Hall meetings are part of council members' initiative to "get out of the courthouse" and into the communities they serve in order to enhance local representation on regional issues.

Town Hall meetings in 2006 have examined regional transportation, disparities in public health, new technologies in law enforcement, the regional response to global warming and regional preparation for a potential influenza pandemic. Each Town Hall is a special meeting of the King County Council's Committee-of-the-Whole, the only standing committee on which all nine members serve. It considers complex legislation and policy issues of interest to the entire council.

Learn more about the council's Town Hall meetings at www.metrokc.gov/council/townhall.

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