Policy Council celebrates passage of King County crisis care center levy


The results are in — King County voters just approved the Crisis Care Centers levy, and the Bellevue Chamber’s Policy Council is thrilled. A proposal by King County Executive Dow Constantine to address gaps in our region’s behavioral health network, this nine-year levy will fund five new 24/7 crisis centers across the county. 

“As one of our legislative priorities for this year, we are all very excited, and frankly relieved, to see the county’s widespread commitment to tackling mental health crises and addiction in our communities,” said Bellevue Chamber VP of Government Affairs, Jodie Alberts. 

“This levy will create accessible pathways for folks to get the help they need, and also alleviate some existing pressure on our healthcare system … It’s an investment that will tangibly better the county for many years to come.” 

As it stands, there is a single crisis center serving the entire county (yes, all 2.3 million of us) and it does not take walk-ins. So unsurprisingly, last year folks waited an average of 44 days for a mental health residential bed, thus bogging down emergency rooms, hospitals, and jails in situations where treatment is needed. 

While immediate next steps for the program are unknown, Executive Constantine will propose an implementation plan by the end of 2023 for review and approval by the Metropolitan King County Council.

Tax collection will begin in 2024, with the levy costing about $119 per year for a median-priced home. Check out the specifics here

Levy Priorities:
  1. Create five new regional crisis care centers
  2. Preserve and restore the dramatic loss of residential treatment beds
  3. Grow the behavioral health workforce pipeline

Cost to King County residents: 

The levy would be assessed at 14.5 cents per $1,000 in assessed value, estimated to cost approximately $119 per year in 2024 for a median-priced home that has a 2023 assessed value of $853,000. Total revenue is estimated at $1.2 billion over nine years (2024-32) based on anticipated 1 percent allowable growth.

The Timeline:

According to The Seattle Times, “At least one crisis center is slated to open in 2026, but immediate investments in supportive housing programs and existing mental health facilities could begin next year.” 

Interested in Policy Council’s doings? Check out our priorities, membership, and more here.