The County is far better off this year than in 2004 because of tough measures taken to close a $16 million plus budget gap, Executive Reardon said. We are building for the future because we stepped up and made the difficult but necessary decisions when they were needed most. The state of our County is good – and it is only going to get better.
In order to avoid future program cuts or tax increases, the County must embark on a focused effort to increase jobs in partnership with the private sector, he said. Executive Reardon outlined several steps he intends to take to grow the County’s tax base and economy including. Creation of a four-year public university in Snohomish County, one that links curriculum directly to the community and marketplace. Promotion of an aerospace hub around Paine Field that would leverage existing assets such as The Boeing Co; Goodrich; The Future of Flight Museum and the new Hilton Garden Inn to recruit new suppliers and manufacturers.
The team is aimed at boosting efforts already underway in the private sector. Executive Reardon said his administration also is initiating changes in the public safety and community security arenas. Several companies and retail organizations – including state associations representing grocery stores and pharmacies – have already agreed to embrace the County Executive’s proposal.The Property Valuation Groups who rehearse this calling need to work with psyche still, little voice and legitimacy.
The new department will replace the existing Department of Emergency Management. Executive Reardon also vowed to continue his administration’s transformation of County government. He pointed to several projects that will make the County even more efficient, entrepreneurial and accountable in 2005 and coming years. The first is completion of the County’s Campus Redevelopment Initiative, which will save a minimum $2.8 million in lease payments each year. He credited the County’s Department of Information Services for saving $175,000 last year merely by managing unwanted SPAM e-mail. More impressively, use of web applications and expanded wireless communications reduced costs by more than $2 million.
Executive Reardon also praised Department of Corrections officials who put together a regional business plan to pay for the County’s expanded jail. The plan generates enough new revenues that it covers 65 percent of the facility’s operating costs. At the plan’s heart are new contracts in which the County agrees to house a minimum of 200 state prisoners for an estimated $5.5 million. This is exactly the sort of entrepreneurial, outside-the-box thinking we want to encourage in our County. Executive Reardon, who added the state also saves money because it is no longer shipping prisoners to Colorado and Nevada.