Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon proposed Wednesday morning using more than $33 million in federally subsidized bonds available under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to stimulate new job growth.
The Recovery Zone Bonds – in addition to the nearly $40 million in service and infrastructure grants already received under the federal recovery program – can be used to fund public and private capital improvements that promote economic development and job growth throughout the county.
“This bonding program can provide new jobs while projects are underway and can be the stimulus to economic growth in Snohomish County,” County Executive Aaron Reardon said. “The outcome will be new family wage jobs for residents who are now out of work.”
Called the “ReCAP Initiative,” the extremely low-interest bond program offered under the federal recovery program focuses exclusively on capital projects such as essential public facilities and business infrastructure rather than on providing additional funding for county programs and services. If approved by the County Council, the county’s Recovery Zone Bonds are expected to be available by October.
Under Reardon’s proposed recovery plan, the county’s ReCAP Initiative will use $13 million in Recovery Zone Bonds to complete capital improvements of public facilities. A specific project list will be jointly developed by the Executive and County Council but will likely include improvements to the Snohomish County Fairgrounds, providing permanent jobs in the future, as well as public-safety roads projects, offering jobs while stimulating growth throughout the county.
The county’s Economic Development Division will then develop and administer a competitive process for distributing the remaining $20 million in Recovery Zone Bonds to private-sector applicants looking to create new jobs. Private-sector businesses assume full responsibility for payment of this bond debt, but funds will be available for capital improvements in different sectors including the aerospace and biotech industries as well agricultural improvements and renewable energy projects.
Since the ARRA was approved by Congress, Snohomish County has received nearly $40 million in grants for projects including transportation improvements, public safety services and human services offered to residents. Nearly 500 part-time and full-time jobs have been created in Snohomish County from federal recovery funding.
“The more funding we can generate through the national recovery program, the better set Snohomish County will be as the economy begins improving,” Reardon said. “Already we’re seeing direct benefits from this money in terms of job creation, infrastructure improvements and better services.”