A look at the 2009 Snohomish County Budget
With a shortfall of monies, mainly because of lower sales tax revenue, Reardon has spent the last few months urging the council and other public officers to cut costs in hopes of keeping jobs secure and taxes down.
“Despite the financial uncertainties on Wall Street and their localized impact, I am urging the County Council to be reasoned and thoughtful in their approach to the fiscal challenges facing the county,” Reardon wrote in a countywide memo to employees. “Our public and county family deserves a realistic assessment of the difficulties ahead, but also the calm and certainty that comes with knowing your elected leadership is steady and prepared to address these challenges in a timely manner.”
Last Thursday, Council President Dave Somers called a public meeting to discuss the budget shortfall. At that time, the Council feared that the shortfall may end up in the $20 million dollar range.
“Our budget situation is very serious,” Somers said. “There are going to be painful decisions to make. And unfortunately I’m not confident we’ve heard the last of the bad news about the economy and how it’s going to affect us.”
Executive Reardon doesn’t want to create panic or fear and on Friday met with analysts and council members to try to understand where the $20 to $30 million number was coming from.
“Their numbers fluctuate as much as the Dow Jones Industrial Average these days,” Reardon said. “This can be done in a calm, reasoned manner.”
Let’s take a look at what’s happening -- By the Numbers.
12 The number of elected county officials including five Snohomish County Council members, executive, assessor, auditor, clerk, prosecutor, sheriff and Treasurer, all representing you, the voter. There are also 25 elected judges.
The county actually employs over 3,000.
$210,690,491 Total of 2008 Adopted General Fund; all funds combined total $672,783,179.
$31,247,986 Is the total that Snohomish County has held in reserves from the 2007 Actual General Fund.
$3.7 million - The amount that the General Fund revenues have dropped, including sales tax in first quarter of 2008 which shows that consumer spending is dropping rapidly.
4 The number of new staff requested by County Council in March 2008. However, hiring these four staff would put the county over budget.
4-1 Council votes yes to hiring new staff.
3rd quarter 2009 Majority of ARM loans will be due which could increase foreclosure rate in Snohomish County.
06/08 County Executive Aaron Reardon urges council to put on a hiring freeze.
$9.3 million The amount of county shortfall by the end of the 2nd quarter.
$5 million Projected revenue shortfall for next year. Breaks down as $4 million less in sales-tax sourcing revenues (which is part of overall sales tax revenues) and $1 million lost on market investment earnings.
$14 million County Executive Reardon’s projected revenue shortfall by the end of 2008.
$20 - $30 million Amount County Council feels the shortfall will be.
100 The number of county employees enlisted to line item the 2009 budget as part of the Priorities of Government method used by the Executive.
Every public official was asked to cut their budgets to make up projected shortfalls for 2008 and in 2009 proposed budgets.
Only one, Sheriff John Lovick, actually did it reducing $1.5 million dollars by cutting overtime, office supplies and overhead. Lovick was even able to come up with funds to run his auto theft task force program.
25 Is the amount of departments who share in the budget.
3 The number of budget deliberation meetings (as of 10/10/08) the County Council has actually had since the Executive presented his proposed budget for 2009-2010.
40 The number of days the council has had a proposed budget before them.
9 percent out of an existing 11 percent banking capacity The amount that some Council members are considering raising property taxes
0.10 percent The amount that the council is considering raising sales tax, also known as the 1/10th of 1 percent tax.
By law, the budget must be approved before December. Council has said they will deliberate and approve a budget by Thanksgiving.