Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

EVERETT — Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers proposed a 2024 budget for the county Tuesday, saying it reflects goals of “meeting responsibilities” and “careful stewardship.”

Money for building parks and facilities, as well as data processing, are looking at a combined $31 million decrease in the proposal due to the exhaustion of pandemic-era money.

“Those are multi-year funds that had an influx primarily from ARPA grants and are being expended,” county spokesperson Kent Patton wrote in an email.

Many parts of the county budget, however, are looking at increases. The initial budget proposal is $1.66 billion, up from $1.52 billion last year.

Public comment begins Oct. 10.

“The yearly budget is the opportunity for us to shape how Snohomish County will respond to today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities,” Nate Nehring, the Snohomish County Council’s vice chair, said in a press release. “The process in Snohomish County is transparent and allows us to make decisions grounded in reality.”

Somers, in the midst of a reelection campaign that he has said will be his last, touted county leadership for their funding proposals.

“Not one county leader proposed frivolous or wasteful spending,” Somers said in prepared remarks.

Law and justice agencies, including the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices, makes up 75% of the proposed $330 million general fund, the same percentage as last year’s budget, Somers said. The 2024 proposal includes pay increases the county previously agreed to with Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputies; funding to continue county search-and-rescue helicopter operations; and money for trauma kits.

Somers also mentioned funding for new public dashboards for transparency about incidents where deputies use force.

The Human Services Department funding proposal is $248 million, up $23 million from 2023. That department includes aging and disability services; behavioral health; housing and community services; and veterans programs. Snohomish County recently announced the $114.5 million Housing and Behavioral Health Capital Fund, an investment to create hundreds of affordable housing units.

The proposed budget for the county’s road department is $161 million, up $14 million from the previous year.

“We appreciate the collaboration we have with the Executive and his staff,” Snohomish County Council Chair Jared Mead said in a press release. “The Council understands the hard work that goes into balancing the County’s many priorities.”

Other big budget items include solid waste ($98 million) and for Seattle Paine Field International Airport ($81 million). Solid waste would get approximately $12 million more under the proposed budget. Somers heralded the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Applied Research and Development Center — a project to create more eco-friendly jet fuel — as a win for the county.

“We will continue to work with Boeing, their global supply chain, and all of the facets of the worldwide aviation and aerospace industries to ensure they have everything they need from Snohomish County,” Somers said in his prepared remarks. “We also are excited that both hydrogen and electric aviation companies are part of our aerospace cluster. We have the past, present, and future of aerospace right here in our back yard.”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046;; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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