Snohomish County Executive presents 2023 budget, with focus on public safety

County Executive Dave Somers

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers on Tuesday presented his proposed budget for 2023. According to a county news release, the budget is focused investments on public safety, including increasing pay for deputies, behavioral health, homelessness, housing affordability, climate resilience, and efforts to improve equity.

The executive’s proposed budget includes $80 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act spending.

“The 2023 budget is truly an historic opportunity for transformative change,” Somers said. “We have bold proposals that can have a significant impact on reducing crime, improving the quality of life of our residents, and preparing for the challenges that are coming from climate change. With the help of one-time federal funding supplementing our own spending, we are looking to make strategic, long-term investments to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities.”

Some of the specific proposals include:

  • Spending over 75% of the general fund budget on law and justice agencies.
  • Increasing compensation for sheriff’s office deputies by at least 19.5% over the four years of the proposed contract.
  • Establishing a new sheriff’s office precinct near Snohomish County’s Paine Field Airport to allow quicker response times and a better distribution of assets.
  • Investing in additional body cameras for deputies.
  • Providing funding for two new deputy prosecuting attorneys.
  • Continued funding for the Law and Justice Data Collection Initiative.
  • Investments in new fire training facilities.
  • Starting investments to create 2,000 units of affordable housing over the next 20 years. This is on top of the 165 additional beds created in 2022, representing a 26% increase in available beds compared to last year.
  • Directing $29 million in federal funding to increase and preserve housing units and expand behavioral health services across Snohomish County.
  • Spending $7 million over five years for the acquisition, rehabilitation and construction of behavioral health facilities.
  • With the integration of the Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County, supporting direct public health services — including mental health services — by spending an additional $3 million in federal ARPA funds.
  • $8 million in federal ARPA funding for youth — including recreation, violence interruption, behavioral health supports, and COVID-related learning loss.
  • Investing $12 million in federal ARPA funding to increase child care access, a critical program for supporting workers.
  • Expanding broadband access with an additional $5 million in ARPA funding.
  • Begin planning for a dedicated mountain bike park.
  • A community-based grant program to support local park and recreation activities.
  • $8 million in ARPA funding for implementing workforce development strategies.
  • Spending $27 million in road construction for 13 projects and continue to provide maintenance for transportation infrastructure, which includes over 1,600 miles of county roads, 205 bridges, and 200 signals.

“There are tremendous needs across the county, and I believe we have provided a balanced, responsible path forward in our spending,” Somers said. “We are taking great care with these public funds, since people work very hard for their money. I have no doubt that this budget is one of the best we’ve ever had for addressing short-term challenges and also investing in long-term strategies to preserve our quality of life, environment and economy.”

“I appreciate the hard work the executive team put into the 2023 budget proposal, and I look forward to working with my council colleagues to consider and approve next year’s budget,” said Snohomish County Council Chair Megan Dunn. “We look forward to beginning the douncil portion of the process which includes hearing from county departments, independently elected county leaders and our community. In the coming months, we’ll have a transparent process to allow input towards a budget that reflects our collective values.”

The total proposed general fund budget for 2023 is $315,901,047. The total for all funds is $1,517,046,604.

You can access the executive’s full speech and the online budget here.

  1. Thank you, Executive Director Sommers for funding the needed essential staffing and needed equipment. I like the ARPA funds targets toward human services, mental health rehabilitation and training of varying age groups, supporting family need of child care and workforce development. I look forward to reviewing the entire budget. ARPA funds were to “rescue Americans” so Bravo!

    Last year, Edmonds’ simple majority, on the recommendations of staff, put aside 42% of approximation $11.2mm for infrastructure and green infrastructure projects.

    In 2022, new CM’s voted to remove approx $1.15m or approx 10%; I think 32% is still too high for infrastructure and green infrastructure.

    So, hopefully at next ARPA review, during the budget process, we will be presented an accurate reconciliation of the green infrastructure and infrastructure. The Administration forgot to remove $750k in Stormwater; but did add $450k for Civic Field mitigation (now called 96 ROW and approved to help relieve (or supplement) cost overruns in Park budget.

    So an accurate reconciliation helps to avoid confusion as citizens are interested in how much money we have available for the “human aspect” of this federal grant program.

    And then the ordinance can be updated to reflect ALL 2022 voted amendments.

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