The proposal to use the federally subsidized bonds to stimulate the economy was recommended by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon in February and approved Wednesday by the County Council.
“The outcome of this program will be new family wage jobs for residents now out of work,” Reardon said. “Already, we’re seeing positive benefits from the more than $40 million Snohomish County has received in service and infrastructure grants under the federal recovery program.”
“This is an excellent chance to use the federal stimulus package to build important infrastructure projects while reducing costs for Snohomish County residents,” Council Chairman Dave Gossett said.
The $20 million in Recovery Zone Bonds for local companies is part of a larger bond program that can be used to fund public and private capital improvements promoting economic development and job growth throughout the county. Called the “ReCAP Initiative,” the extremely low-interest bond 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.
The county’s Economic Development Division will solicit proposals through a competitive bid process for distributing the $20 million. 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.
Snohomish County plans to use another $13 million in Recovery Zone Bonds to complete capital improvements of certain public facilities, including the Snohomish County Fairgrounds, and public-safety roads projects. Both will provide temporary and permanent jobs while stimulating growth throughout the county.
Since the ARRA was approved by Congress, Snohomish County has received more than $41 million in grants for projects including transportation improvements, public safety services and human services offered to residents. More than 500 part-time and full-time jobs have been created in Snohomish County from federal recovery funding.