Adopting an annual budget for Snohomish County is one of the primary responsibilities of the County Council. The County’s budget sets the anticipated revenues and expenditures for the calendar year. It funds essential county services including law enforcement and the justice system, roads, solid waste, elections, human services, and much more. In this month’s column, I will be highlighting the Executive’s recommended budget, some of my budget priorities, and how you can make your voice heard in the budget process. 

The annual budget process begins with the County Executive presenting a recommended budget to the County Council. On September 27th, Executive Somers gave his budget address and presented his 2023 budget proposal to the County Council.  

The recommended budget continues investments in the core functions of county government and also appropriates much of the one-time federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The proposed budget spends over 75% of the General Fund on the law and justice system, which is consistent with many past years’ budgets. For reference, the General Fund makes up about 21% of the total county budget. The other funds include the County Roads Fund, Human Services grants, and other dedicated revenues with specific uses tied to them.  

The budget funds additional body cameras for Sheriff’s deputies, two new Deputy Prosecuting Attorney project positions, and continued funding for the Law and Justice Data Collection Initiative. I support the additional funding for our law and justice system. We are seeing a public safety crisis in our communities and it is important that we invest in the system to keep our communities safe. I will be working with my colleagues to invest additional resources into the Prosecutor’s Office so that we can tackle more of these difficult cases and bring them to trial in order to hold criminals accountable.  

The recommended budget also puts spending toward affordable housing and behavioral health programs through our ARPA dollars, HB 1590 affordable housing dollars, and Chemical Dependency and Mental Health (CDMH) funds.  

I am excited about the additional $5 million investment into expanding broadband internet access across the County. I have been working with Executive Somers and Councilmember Low on our Broadband Action Team (BAT) to bring community stakeholders together in this effort. We will be working together to identify areas of need to best invest these funds in our community.  

These are just a few of the highlights of the 2023 proposed budget. I will be focusing on these priorities and more while working to limit tax increases in the 2023 budget. We can fund the core functions of county government and invest in needed projects without increasing the tax burden on Snohomish County residents during this difficult economic time.  

To learn more about Executive Somers’ recommended budget, visit the Budget Division page of the County Website (www.snoco.org).  

If you would like to provide your input on the County budget, you can testify at a public hearing or provide written comments. For a list of public hearing dates and how to participate, visit the County Council’s 2023 Budget page. To provide written comment, you can email Contact.Council@snoco.org. If you have any questions or would like to reach out to me directly, feel free to email me at nate.nehring@snoco.org.  

Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1 which includes Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Marysville, Stanwood, and unincorporated north county. He can be reached by email at Nate.Nehring@snoco.org or by phone at (425) 512-4810.

 

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