News from County Executive Dave Somers: September 2018

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News from the County Executive

September 2018

The Future We Choose: 

Partnerships and Service 

Snohomish County’s Budget for 2019 

Budget address
Executive Somers Delivers Budget Address for 2019

We’re living in a moment of significant change across Snohomish County and the Puget Sound region.  Change is evident in our climate, our economy, and our landscapes.  In our daily lives we see it everywhere: From technological changes shaping how we shop and drive and learn, to our growing population putting pressure on our housing costs and transportation system.

As we address challenges and take advantage of opportunities, it’s essential that we pause for a moment and ask ourselves: What is the future we choose to create?

We all know that our costs of doing business are rising faster than our revenues. This reality requires us to re-imagine how we do business and how we provide the services our residents need and expect. The answer for 2019 is to become more efficient and more effective. I truly believe there are many things we can do to improve our service to the public, improve the working conditions of our employees, and do so even in the face of limited resources.


Partnerships and Collaboration

Partnerships and collaboration are critical to our continued success as a community, because they help us identify and implement the most sensible solutions for our most stubborn challenges. That’s why I’m very proud to say that this year’s budget has been marked by the most bipartisan and collaborative process in the county’s history.

We took a new approach this year with the county council. Council members were invited into the budget making process early and often. We shared with them insights about our decision-making. We wanted to open and extend ourselves to ensure there would be no surprises and that we could put forward a balanced budget that reflects the values of our community.

We also spent considerable time listening to our residents. The values of our community guide our strategic decisions. We know that public safety is the top priority. We know that taxpayers feel the burden of paying for federal, state, and local needs. We know that many—but not all—are benefiting from our growing economy. We have heard about housing affordability, education, the needs of our seniors, transportation, our beautiful parks, opioids, and all the other issues that the public most cares about. These priorities from our community are reflected in the budget I present today.

We must acknowledge that we are all facing challenges that don’t respect city or county borders. From Stanwood to Index, Edmonds to Everett, and Mill Creek to Granite Falls, we are all in this together.

We are grateful for the outstanding work accomplished with our state and federal partners. They have been instrumental in helping us bring more state and federal funds to the county to address pressing needs in job training, housing, transportation, the opioid epidemic, and more.

We are very thankful for our strong partnership with the Navy and veteran community. We are continually looking for ways to provide additional support to Snohomish County’s service members, veterans, and their families.

We are working hard to make our case for Boeing’s New Midmarket Airline, the NMA, to be built right here. We want Boeing to thrive in our community now and for the next 100 years. I established the county’s NMA Task Force to ensure we are working with the county council, cities, ports, educational institutions, and others to put our best foot forward to further grow this partnership that has lasted for decades. In the 2019 budget, we are investing to make sure we will have an aggressive recruitment effort. We are ready to compete and succeed in landing the NMA.



I want Snohomish County to be a great place to work. I want to recruit and retain the best workforce possible. I want there to be pride in a job well done. This is the future we choose. We can only do this with the help of everyone who works at Snohomish County.

Today, I am launching STEP (Service, Technology, and Excellence Program) 2.0 to bring a new burst of energy to our effort. In STEP 1.0, we launched the initiative, established our continuous improvement office to lead our efforts, and started down the path of organizational transformation. We want to guide the people who do the work so that they can better serve our customers. These were great first steps and started the process of culture change and improved service.

With STEP 2.0, we will be expanding our efforts by adding to our leadership development program. We will work on multiple fronts, with diverse tools, and bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to everything we do.

In the past couple of years, we have successfully consolidated our enhanced Emergency Communications Office into DEM, enabling significant advances in our emergency preparedness.  Our 911 systems have joined together and now our emergency radio system is looking to do the same. We have also consolidated elsewhere and will continue to look for efficiencies in how we are structured. This work will continue in 2019. If there are efficiencies to be found, we will pursue them.



For me, the budget is not just about dollars and cents. It’s about our priorities. Our values. How we want to improve life in our community. Yes, we balanced our budget for 2019. Yes, we avoided significant cuts and any lay-offs because of the strong economy. We once again made public safety our number one priority. We have started the courthouse renovation project, saving upwards of $86 million. If all goes as planned, in 2019 our residents will be able to fly out of Paine Field, the airport of choice, to destinations across the country. While our county infrastructure is aging, we have a plan to address it. We have improved the fund balance to better handle the next economic downturn. These are the facts you’ll see in the budget book we hand to Council today.

Change is here, and we are ready for it. With our partnerships and a dedication to service, we will be able to create the future we choose for Snohomish County.

DS and SW
Executive Somers hands proposed 2019 budget to Council Chair Wright

Dave Sommers

Dave Somers
County Executive

3000 Rockefeller Ave., 

M/S 407 
Everett, WA 98201

PH: 425-388-3050

FAX: 425-388-3434

 Public Advocate

PH: 425-388-3365

dave somers