Snohomish County budget: Safety, housing, development, accountability

Nov 28, 2018

The Snohomish County Council has unanimously approved a $264 million budget for 2019.

Council Chair Stephanie Wright, whose district includes Edmonds, said she is proud of the budget.

“We were able to focus on issues that matter to our residents, while spending our resources carefully,” she said. “We were able to address public safety issues, economic development, affordable housing options, and combat homelessness.”

Snohomish County’s 2019 General Fund budget does not raise the county’s general fund tax levy amount and prepares for the inevitable downturn in the economy, said County Executive Dave Somers.

“Next year will have a number of major milestones for Snohomish County, including the expected start of commercial air service from Paine Field, the start of Boeing’s management of the Future of Flight Aviation Center, and progress on the (Everett) courthouse project. The 2019 budget allows all of these important projects to continue.”

The approved 2019 budget has a number of important programs, including:

Public safety

  • A continuing focus on public safety, including five new deputies, two dedicated to new gang task force.
  • A new program to embed a detective in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to focus on domestic violence cases.
  • $2 million for the start of work on a new South Precinct building for the Sheriff’s Office.
  • Improved technology for Deputies in the SCSO.
  • Helping the Office of Pubic Defense to ensure the justice system is fair for all by increasing funding for certain public safety costs.
  • The budget continues the county’s innovative approach to the opioid epidemic.

Neighbors in need

  • The county has directed an additional $300,000 toward affordable housing for the homeless, a key area for reducing suffering and improving public safety. We have also carried forward an additional $1 million from the 2018 budget for efforts to address homelessness.
  • In order to help our neediest residents—including seniors, veterans, at-risk youth, and others—the budget provides additional capacity for the Department of Human Services to manage more grant dollars from funding agencies.

Fiscal responsibility

  • The budget provides an additional $2.3 million towards stabilizing the county’s risk management fund balance. This ensures the county can easily handle any unexpected costs next year.
  • In 2019, the county moves closer to the targeted fund balance of 14%, providing capacity should the economy turn.
  • Invests $1.68million in the Revenue Stabilization fund to help minimize revenue shortfalls during economic downturns.

Making the county work

  • The budget ensures our technology continues to provide the necessary services to the public and county staff.
  • We will continue with our STEP Initiative to improve our operations and give our employees the tools they need to succeed.

Transportation

  • $134.9 million investment in county roads.
  • Seed money of $1.5 million for SR-2, 522, and other key transportation projects to address congestion.

Economic development

  • The budget continues the county’s focus on diversifying our economy, improving our attractiveness for foreign investors, and targeting economic development opportunities – including the Boeing NMA.

 

 

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