Snohomish County will switch from an annual to biennial budget

The new budget system will begin in 2025 and occur outside of election years. Council member says it’s a positive step.

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EVERETT — Snohomish County is officially switching over to a biennial budget that will be operational in 2025.

On Wednesday, County Council members heard the ordinance to switch from the current annual budget process to a biennial budget. It passed 4-0. Council member Strom Peterson was absent from the meeting.

In 2024, the county will prepare the 2025-2026 budget, and the process will continue biannually outside of election years. This fall, however, the typical annual budget process will proceed like normal. Council Chair Jared Mead said the biennial budget system is a “positive step towards more responsible budgeting and forecasting.”

“When Snohomish County families sit down at the dinner table and plan out their budgets, they don’t think just one year at a time,” Mead said. “Why should their government be any different?”

The council will form a work group to assess how best to execute the switch and to make decisions such as changing over software. Work group members may include people from the financial committee, executive’s, assessor’s and treasurer’s offices.

“Having (the ordinance) adopted this early gives us time to put that group together and get together our working list of what it’s going to take to be able to successfully do a biennial budget,” explained Jim Martin, senior legislative analyst for the County Council.

Council member Nate Nehring said it will also “reduce the politics involved in the budget process,” since it will occur outside of election years. Nehring and fellow council member Megan Dunn proposed the ordinance together. Both said the change would improve overall efficiency.

Kayla J. Dunn: 425-339-3449;; Twitter: @KaylaJ_Dunn.

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