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Snohomish County Council sends public safety sales tax to voters in November

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The Snohomish County Council on Wednesday unanimously approved adding a public safety sales tax to the ballot for the Nov. 5, 2024, general election. The levy was proposed by Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, and the council voted 5-0 to put it on the ballot.

If voters approve it in November, the tax would cost 2 cents per $10 purchase, costing the average resident less than a dollar a week, the county said in a news release. Sales tax revenue would be split, with 60% going to Snohomish County and the remaining 40% going to cities based on population and whether they have passed their own local sales tax. The county would use over 50% of the funds for criminal justice purposes and the rest for other public safety priorities.

“We know the public is demanding creative solutions to the drug crisis because of the negative impact it has on individuals, businesses and our community,” Somers said. “We must ensure that perpetrators are held accountable while also showing compassion so that people get the help they need.”

Jared Mead, chairman of the Snohomish County Council, said, “By creating new programs and strengthening our law enforcement tools, we can better combat the drug crisis and the crime that results from it. Voters can now have a say in whether they want us to use these new tools and strengthen our law enforcement agencies.”

According to the press release, the approval of the levy means that the district:

– Hire more police officers to ensure that cartels, drug traffickers and criminals are held accountable.

– Provide more resources to prosecutors, public defenders and the courts to ensure that those arrested for crimes can be prosecuted.

– Establish a secure drug rehabilitation treatment facility in Snohomish County to provide more capacity for those in need of cleanliness, adding to the 77 beds currently available statewide.

– Establish a second community resource center to make it easier for people to access services.

– Expanding treatment options for addicts in the county jail.

– Create programs to combat graffiti, abandoned vehicles and other visible signs of the opioid crisis.

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

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