Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon presented his 2012 proposed budget Friday, offering a fiscally responsible and balanced approach to protecting quality of life without tax increases.
“We have not raised general fund property taxes in the last seven years and this year will be no different,” Reardon said before elected leaders, County Council members, employees and the general public, “and yet our budget is balanced, our reserves are above the adopted 11-percent target, and they will continue to grow under our spending plan.”
The proposed General Fund budget for 2012 is just over $206 million – slightly higher than the 2010 budget – and is based on modest revenue projections agreed to by Council and Executive financial analysts. Across all funds, the Snohomish County budget proposal offers just less than $600 million in services and infrastructure.
The budget also establishes a sustainable spending plan that continues to grow liquidity reserves to more than 12 percent in 2012 – nearly $1.1 million. This is critical to maintaining a high-quality bond rating, to reducing the cost of county investments and to protecting core services from future economic downturns.
“This is something that today sets Snohomish County apart from other jurisdictions,” Reardon said. “By tackling the impacts of the recession as it was ongoing, we were able to position ourselves where we are today: prepared to invest in the future and provide the critical services the people of Snohomish County expect.”
The result is a 2012 proposed General Fund budget that protects services for vulnerable populations, maintains public safety – still the largest part of the General Fund budget – and allows for fund balance growth while promoting new infrastructure for job development, especially at Paine Field.
In spite of the recession, during the past eight years, more than 40,000 new jobs were created across all sectors of the economy – more than double that of Washington State or any other Puget Sound county.
In 2012, the county will continue making investments in infrastructure and facilities to increase growth in Snohomish County’s aerospace cluster centered around Paine Field and the Boeing Company.
A $500,000 grant will allow Airport staff to make building upgrades to the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, nearly doubling the useable space available for training workers.
“The collaboration and teamwork at all levels of government to invest in workforce training is critical to providing our workers needed skills – and our businesses the skilled workers – they must have to compete in the global economy,” Reardon said. “These efforts will continue to grow and expand upon our partnership with our local aerospace industry as we compete for the next generation of airplane manufacturing.”
Throughout the budget address, Reardon thanked elected leaders, department heads and frontline staff for their continued work these past years to reduce expenses and to find new ways of working with fewer resources. He specifically called the 2012 budget proposal the “result of teamwork across all departments – both elected and appointed.”
To view more information on Reardon’s budget address and proposals for 2012, go to http://bit.ly/oN2tM3.