County releases budget recommendations

Meanwhile, mayor to reveal first look at Edmonds’ budget Oct. 10
Oct 05, 2017

Mayor Dave Earling is scheduled to present Edmonds’ preliminary budget for 2018 to City Council on Oct. 10 – he and staff have been working on it for up to four months – but Snohomish County has already delivered its 2018 recommendations.

According to Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, the budget supports public safety, veterans, economic development and neighborhood transportation. The County Council will deliberate and adopt a budget to fund Snohomish County for 2018.

“I have included funding for key public priorities, namely public safety, economic development, local transportation mobility, improved customer service, and a sustainable budget,” Somers said.

“Most importantly, my budget is balanced and responsible. We must address today’s priorities, while working to create the future we choose. We will continue to plan for whatever opportunities or challenges may come our way.”

The recommended general fund budget for 2018 is $252,147,199. The total for all funds is $929,466,614.

Earling praised the recommendations.

“The county benefits from Executive Somers’ experience and balanced approach to the many priorities and needs of local government today,” he said. “He is successfully facing the many emerging challenges that we in the cities face.”

Somers set five key goals for the 2018 budget:

  • Maintain a safe, resilient, and livable Snohomish County;
  • Diversify and strengthen the local economy;
  • Improve transportation mobility;
  • Improve customer service and make county government more efficient and responsive; and
  • Maintain sustainable budgets and maximum transparency.

The budget restores full funding to the Sheriff’s Office for 2017 and 2018; eliminates cuts for most other law and justice agencies in 2018; adds five new deputies to the Sheriff’s Office; and funds necessary technology upgrades to improve the safety and efficiency of Sheriff’s Office operations.

In addition, the proposed 2018 budget also expands the county’s successful embedded social worker program to north county areas.

The budget increases contributions to the county’s Veterans Assistance Fund, to take it to over $1 million total. This fund is used to assist vets in navigating a complex VA system, ensuring they receive all federal benefits they have earned.

“The fund also provides everything from emergency vouchers for rent, to food, to burial for indigent veterans,” Somers said.

“We are also creating a special hiring program for veterans and helping with job placement assistance for family members of those serving at Naval Station Everett. Finally, as part of the courthouse renovation, we will be creating an expanded and more prominent veterans memorial in our new courtyard to pay tribute to our veterans.”

The 2018 recommended budget also launches the Snohomish County Neighborhoods Initiative. The county will focus on neighborhood gridlock and ways we can address chokepoints to help ease congestion on our local roads.

This initiative incorporates the countywide sidewalk program, which is focused on improving safety around schools and enhancing neighborhood connectivity.

Edmonds’ budget

A year ago, when Earling first introduced to the public what would eventually be approved by City Council as a $97.6 million budget for 2017, he said more attention would need to be paid to important one-time expenditures – “catch-up issues” – and work put off due to the recession.

A big part of that was the city’s expansive critical infrastructure spending, which included street grinding and overlays and sewer and waterline replacement. Pick a day, any day, and there were probably city workers out and about.

What else in the budget was checked off in 2017? When asked about just a few of the budget outlays, Earling gave answers for the following:

  • Part-time parking enforcement officer: Hired
  • Animal-control officer: Hired.
  • Pedestrian safety training: This is in progress.
  • Replacing of crosswalk lights at Edmonds-Woodway High School: Completed.
  • Audible pedestrian signals: All are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
  • Missing sidewalk link at 15th Street SW: Done
  • Curb ramps, ADA improvements: Done.
  • Speed indicator signs: Installed. A new one is in place on 95th Place West in Westgate.
  • Full time parks employee: New position added.

 

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