We must make strategic investments today to ensure future generations are able to enjoy this incredible place we call home,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers regarding his 2022 budget plan.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers has released his proposed 2022 budget. The $1.2 billion budget emphasizes public safety, social justice, community health, economic development, environmental sustainability, and much more according to his press release.

The budget was submitted to the Snohomish County Council on Sept. 28 and included over $56 million dollars in Federal American Rescue Plan Act funds that were approved by congress. “For 2022, we are focused on improving public safety, advancing social justice, protecting our environment, supporting community health, and strengthening our economy,” said Executive Dave Somers. “Snohomish County will focus on our areas of greatest need by funding programs that will improve our quality of life and serve the whole of the community. Too many have suffered from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—not only the health impacts of the disease but also the many challenges that the pandemic has made more visible.”

Somers continued to express the “urgent” need for increased housing to mental health and substance abuse treatment and that Snohomish County has the opportunity to reduce suffering, build safer communities, and improve the quality of life for many of Snohomish County’s residents.

Highlights of the Executive’s 2022 budget proposal:

  • Fully fund a body camera program for Deputies and Rangers.
  • Begin the process of replacing the Sheriff’s Office south precinct.
  • Expand the number of detectives to address crimes against children and domestic violence.
  • Hire more Designated Crisis Responders.
  • Add three crime prevention officers, one per precinct.
  • Invest almost $12 million to reduce the law and justice system backlog.
  • Fund a “Hate Has No Home Here” campaign.
  • Increase anti-bias training for county employees.
  • Add a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion staff person in Human Resources to lead our efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and support employees from historically marginalized communities.
  • Set up a Carnegie Employment Support Services Program to improve access to jobs.
  • Support for Lynnwood’s new substance abuse treatment facility.
  • Spend $10 million for creating long-term shelter and housing options in Everett, and North, South and East County.
  • Invest in Snohomish County’s Paine Field Airport to ensure this center of job creation will continue to provide the most economic impact of any airport in the state.
  • Continue improving solid waste and county roads to keep people and goods moving.
  • Additional funds for the Food and Farming Center at McCollum Park to help our farmers.
  • Expand the 5G farms model to create a new “Innovation for Advanced Manufacturing” project.
  • Invest $5 million to expand broadband access.
  • Launch a “Grow SnoCo” campaign to attract businesses, investors, and visitors, helping create jobs.
  • Assistance for our micro and small businesses.
  • Accelerate the “Take Flight Snohomish County” program, providing a one-stop resource for aerospace training programs.
  • Spend approximately $36 million for a wide range of projects within our Environmental Stewardship Strategy, including fish passages, land conservation, habitat restoration, forest health, and climate change action plan.

The proposed $12 million to reduce the law and justice system backlog is nothing new and has been around for years, according to Kent Patton, the Communications Director for the Snohomish County Executives Office. “It just means that the cases are piling up faster than they can get adjudicated through the justice system. Because of court closures during parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the backlog got worse,” said Patton.  The funding will allow the courts, prosecutors, and public defense to temporarily hire more staff to address the backlog.

The assistance for micro and small businesses would entail technical assistance, but since the program has not yet been launched, Somers office is unable to go into detail on all of the operational details. Once they are able to identify partners and launch the program, they will have more details to share.

The total budget for all funds was $1,255,624,596.

“We are fortunate to live in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, with abundant natural resources and a great quality of life,” said Somers. “We must make strategic investments today to ensure future generations are able to enjoy this incredible place we call home.”

Click here to see the entirety of the proposed budget.

 

 

 

Daniel Albert is an Award-Winning journalist majoring in Integrated Strategic Communications at Washington State University.