Traveling the county
Last updated 12/9/2010 at Noon
During the month of November I drove about Snohomish County and met with the mayors of all 20 cities and towns.
What a great experience to reconnect with the mayors I was already acquainted with and to meet those whom I had not yet met. The purpose of my tour was to get a feel for how Snohomish County government, in particular the executive branch, was working with the county’s cities and towns.
I have to admit that as mayor of Edmonds, I didn’t use many of the services that Snohomish County offered because Edmonds is a full-service city, so I wasn’t sure what to expect as I toured the county.
What I learned was that most every city in the county is struggling to make ends meet. The mayors are looking at how to do business in this new environment—that business being the provision of services to taxpayers.
It’s a difficult task to provide needed services with diminishing revenues.
I found that cities used county services mainly on a contract basis. The sheriff’s office provides law-enforcement services to many smaller cities, and I heard over and over again how happy mayors are with those contracts.
I suspect as budgets become even tighter that some larger cities will drop their own police departments and go the contract route.
Our public works department also contracts with cities in the county for a multitude of things like snow removal, street striping, road projects, and many other public works tasks.
Our public works department is held in high regard by those who use their services.
Our departments of emergency management and information services also work with cities on their needs in those areas. Our parks department has an amazing relationship with our municipal neighbors. And the list goes on.
The future of county government may well lie with the contracting of services with cash-strapped cities in the future.
A byproduct of my Snohomish County tour was the opportunity to visit the cities themselves and to get a flavor for what each has to offer.
The drive alone was worth the effort as the leaves were still turning color and the scenery was beautiful, except for that one record-setting rainy day when I could barely see the road. But two days later brought record-high temperatures that made up for it.
Besides the natural beauty, I was fascinated by the history that Snohomish County cities and towns hold in high regard. The history and the beauty alone should be of economic benefit to each municipality.
As county locals, we should all set aside some time to become tourists in our own backyards. I have been a resident of Snohomish County for 33 years and I saw sights I had never seen before.
The mayoral meeting schedule was a tight one, so I didn’t get to see all I wanted but I will be back!
As the year of 2010 comes to a close I want to say a final thank you to the Edmonds residents that I had the honor to work for over the past 15 years on council and as your mayor.
It was my pleasure to serve you and an experience that will not soon be forgotten!