Snohomish County Council Sends Public Safety Sales Tax to Voters

Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive

Today, the Snohomish County Council unanimously (5-0) approved the inclusion of a Public Safety Sales Tax levy on the November 5, 2024, general election ballot. The levy was proposed by Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, and if approved by voters, will bring additional resources to the County’s efforts to reduce crime and ease the impacts of the drug crisis.

“We know that the public has been asking for creative solutions to the drug crisis because of the negative impacts it is having on individuals, businesses, and our community,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “We need to ensure accountability for those committing crimes while we marshal compassion to ensure people get the help they need.”

“By creating new programs and beefing up our criminal justice tools, we can do more to combat the drug crisis and resulting crime,” said Snohomish County Council Chair Jared Mead. “The voters now can weigh in on whether they want us to deploy these new tools and enhance our criminal justice agencies.”

If the voters approve the Public Safety Sales Tax:

  • Snohomish County will be able to hire more law enforcement officers to ensure the cartels, drug dealers, and criminals will be held accountable.
  • The County will be able to add more resources to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Public Defense, and Courts to ensure we can prosecute those who are arrested for crimes.
  • The County will establish a Secure Withdrawal Management facility in Snohomish County to provide more capacity for those who need to get clean, vitally increasing the 77 beds that are now available statewide.
  • Snohomish County would establish a second community resource center like Carnegie which has shown success in helping get people connected with services.
  • The County would increase treatment services for addiction in our jail.
  • The County would create programs to address graffiti, derelict vehicles, and other visible signs of the crisis.

“I’m pleased that voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on this important question,” said Snohomish County Council Vice Chair Nate Nehring. “Weighing the burden of a sales tax increase against the benefits of additional criminal justice resources presents a difficult choice. It is appropriate that this critical decision will rest in the hands of voters.”

“My strong support for law enforcement and safe neighborhoods is why I want to give the voters a chance to weigh in on the Public Safety Sales Tax,” said Councilmember Sam Low. “Dangerous drugs have been flooding our region and country, and if the public agrees, we can deploy more public safety tools.”

A Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy used a PIT maneuver 

“This request to voters will bolster the county’s ability to holistically fund public safety in our communities,” said Councilmember Megan Dunn.

She continues, “It’s important that the county has the necessary resources available to take a balanced approach to ensuring all our residents’ safety. The broad spectrum of needs that this measure would fund, including addressing behavioral health needs, youth violence, addressing illegal activity and increasing access to treatment services will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for everyone in our county.”

“We know that the complex public safety challenges we face require new investments,” said Councilmember Strom Peterson. “As a growing county, we need to take the next steps to ensure the safety and health of all our residents. The public will now have an opportunity to decide if this is a priority.”

If approved by voters, the levy would cost 2 cents per $10 purchase. It is estimated that the tax would cost the average resident less than a dollar a week. The revenue from the sales tax would be split, with 60% going to Snohomish County and the remaining 40% going to cities by population and depending on if they have enacted their own local sales tax.

Over 50% of the funding would be used by the County for criminal justice purposes and the remaining for other public safety priorities.

 

 

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