Nate Nehring 2018

In October’s column, I provided a breakdown of the total property taxes collected by the Snohomish County treasurer and how various taxing authorities (school districts, local governments, etc.) allocate those dollars. Of the $1.4 billion collected in total, $158 million goes to fund Snohomish County Government.

This month I will breakdown how Snohomish County spends its $249 million general fund, which is supported in part by the $90 million general property tax levy. The rest of the general fund is supported by sales tax, fees, charges for service, governmental transfers and some miscellaneous revenue. 

Legislative/Executive — $8 million

The five County Council members and the County Executive are supported by staff to accomplish the goals of the elected officials in office, including policy making and constituent work.

Judicial — $33.8 million

District Court deals with minor criminal and civil infractions while Superior Court can deal with all civil and criminal matters and has sole jurisdiction over more serious cases including felonies.

Public Safety and Law Enforcement — $153.3 million

The Sheriff’s Office and jail receive $114 million and are responsible for public safety.

The Prosecuting Attorney receives $17.2 million and serves as prosecutor and defense attorney for the county and other agencies.

The Department of Emergency Management receives $1.2 million from the general fund and provides emergency management services on a regional basis.

The Medical Examiner receives $3 million and is mostly responsible for determining cause and manner of death in cases.

The Office of Public Defense receives $14 million and is responsible for legal advice for individuals who cannot afford it.

The Superior Court Clerk’s office receives $7.7 million to maintain court documents and handle court payments.

Community Services — $20 million

Human Services receives $3 million from the general fund to support administrative functions while most of its funding is in the form of grants from the state and federal governments to help the most vulnerable.

Parks, Recreation and Tourism receives $12.5 million to maintain the county’s park system and promote tourism.

Planning and Development Services is mostly funded through fees but it does receive $4.5 million for long-term planning, permitting, code enforcement and fire marshal.

Administrative Services — $27.4 million

The Assessor’s office receives $8.1 million and is mostly responsible for property appraisals and management of levy information for property taxes.

The Auditor’s office receives $8.5 million and includes animal services, elections and voter registration, business and vehicle licensing, and document recording.

The Treasurer’s office receives $3.9 million and is responsible for the collection of property taxes.

The Finance Department receives $4.4 million and manages accounting, budgeting, purchasing and risk management.

Human Resources receives $2.5 million and is responsible for employee recruitment and retention, training, compensation, employee relations and benefits.

Non-Departmental — $6.7 million 

Non-Departmental expenditures account for $6.7 million and covers debt service, general overhead, and other expenses that don’t fit under a specific department or office.

Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1, including Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Marysville, Stanwood, and unincorporated north county. He can be reached at or 425-388-3494.

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