By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published November 17, 2021
County budget includes 2.5% property tax jump
Snohomish County’s $1.2 billion budget for next year includes money to equip all sheriff’s deputies with body cameras, invests $2.2 million toward electric vehicles in the county fleet and earmarks more than $2.5 million in new spending for social justice and equity programs.
The council voted 3-2 on passing a 2.5 percent property tax increase for 2022, which includes activating “banked” tax increases which the county skipped on taking in past years. For a $500,000 home, this is an $8 property tax increase for the county’s portion. The increase will raise $2.5 million more for the budget versus not taking the property tax hike.
Councilmen Nate Nehring and Sam Low opposed this. Nehring prepared an alternate budget which offsets the property tax increase by making budget cuts which his colleagues did not take up. “While many families are struggling, Snohomish County is doing just fine,” Nehring said in disagreeing with the property tax increase.
The council approved the overall 2022 budget 4-1, with Nehring voting no.
There were nearly two hours of public comments.
Active and retired county officials addressed County Council last week asking for tapping into this “banked” tax capacity to help fix an emerging structural gap in the county’s finances. Governments “time-bank” these tax increases when they skip prior years of taking a state-limited 1 percent increase.
Many residents opposed increasing the property tax rate.
Resident Caroline Strong chastised that the county should trim its budget versus coming to constituents asking for more money. “It’s ridiculous you look at us as a cash cow,” Strong said.
The County Council edited the budget to add a 16th and 17th judge into Snohomish County Superior Court.
The County Council edited the budget to see if a free solid waste cleanup event in unincorporated Snohomish County can be created.
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