Council Chair Releases Budget
Public Safety programs receive additional funding
Snohomish County Council Chair Dave Gossett on Monday released his proposed budget plan for 2011. The plan makes several amendments to the proposal presented in September by County Executive Aaron Reardon, particularly in the area of public safety.
Highlights of Gossett’s plan include using proceeds from a proposed increase in the gambling tax to support restoring one sergeant and one deputy position that would otherwise have been cut. The positions will be assigned to the Directed Patrol Unit to maintain the program when grant funds expire mid-year.
“The Directed Patrol Unit focuses its attention on high crime areas and individuals, and this is exactly the type of program we can’t afford to lose” said Gossett. “This is simply not the time to cut valuable public safety programs just because we have financial challenges.”
Gossett’s budget plan also incorporates changes proposed by the Sheriff’s Department that would allow the department to retain three and one half additional officers at no net increase by shifting some operational expenses in 2011. The plan was developed after the executive submitted his budget proposal to the Council, and is included as a “friendly amendment” supported by both the Executive and the Council.
“By working together and being creative we have managed to save 5.5 positions in the Sheriff’s Office,” noted Gossett. “This is exactly the kind of team work we need to maintain services to the public during these difficult budget years.”
Other programs receiving additional funding in Gossett’s proposal include the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office that will keep a deputy prosecuting attorney position to prosecute identity theft cases, and the Clerk’s Office that will be retain one position to assist with victim restitution issues.
“These are important positions that provide valuable services to residents of Snohomish County, particularly those who are victims of crime. I am extremely pleased that my proposal preserves some of the talented and dedicated staff here in the county to allow these programs to continue without disruption,” said Gossett. He further stated that the additions have been accomplished without dipping into reserve funds, noting that his plan would result in reserve amounts slightly above adopted target levels.
The Council is expected to take action the budget for 2011 at a public meeting on Monday, November 22, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.