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Snohomish County Executive submits plan for COVID-19 recovery

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers submitted his proposed COVID-19 recovery spending plan to the Snohomish County Council on July 14, 2021. The plan provides proposed appropriations for the first of two approximately $80 million payments from the American Rescue Plan Act.
County Executive Dave Somers. Photo courtesy of Snohomish County.

From a Snohomish County press release.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers submitted his proposed COVID-19 recovery spending plan to the Snohomish County Council on July 14, 2021.

The plan provides a strategic structure and proposed appropriations for the first of two approximately $80 million payments from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Snohomish County received its first ARPA payment of $79.8 million in May. The second is expected in May of 2022.

The proposal suggests using the first payment for critical shorter-term needs and the second for longer-term and capital projects.

“Snohomish County has been responding to COVID-19 longer than any other local jurisdiction in the country, and our proposed spending plan for federal ARPA funds will allow us to save lives, prevent illness, support economic recovery, and provide support to those who are struggling as a result of the pandemic,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers.

He went on to say, “We know that workers and businesses have struggled. Rates of substance abuse and mental health crises have spiked. Many families are concerned about keeping their home and putting food on the table. Our Snohomish County Recovers plan will address these and other critical issues.”

“We came together as a community to find a path forward through this challenging and unprecedented time,” said Snohomish County Council Chair Stephanie Wright.

“As we move towards recovery, we must continue to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our community, and help our businesses and workforce get back to what they do best,” she added.

Somers’ proposal includes $1.5 million for the Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

$27.531 million for community support is part of the proposed plan. This includes:

  • Enhanced services to seniors;
  • Educational readiness and enhanced early learning;
  • Childcare for essential workers; food security;
  • Behavioral health;
  • and Housing stability.

These are all critical areas where there were significant negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal includes $28.250 million for economic and workforce recovery. This provides:

  • Support for small businesses;
  • Talent retention;
  • Funds to create, attract, and grow business.

The proposal also includes $22.560 million for restoring county operations. This involves:

  • Restoring general fund services for our law and justice system;
  • Council district projects; and
  • County and city partnerships.

This plan was developed after consultations with Snohomish County Councilmembers, county leadership, experts, community advocates, local elected officials, businesses, and others who are part of our pandemic response and recovery.

Executive Somers proposes to use a three-part strategic framework for recovery efforts as follows:

To Stabilize, the plan proposes that Snohomish County will provide essential services to our residents.

To Organize, the plan proposes to create a coordinated effort based on shared goals and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) objectives.

To Strategize, the plan proposes to make strategic investments based on:

  • Immediacy. Businesses need to reopen their doors, and people need outreach assistance and skills development to match them to available jobs.
  • Inclusivity. An important lesson learned from expending last year’s CARES Act funding is that moving resources exclusively and very quickly through existing mechanisms has the potential to exacerbate economic and racial inequality. 
  • Complementarity. Whenever possible, use investments to boost strategies already in progress.
  • Future prosperity. Create opportunities that will endure well beyond the lifespan of these funds.

The proposed plan will now be under consideration by the Snohomish County Council.

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