Aaron Reardon, D - Snohomish County Executive
Occupation: State senator
Education: B.A., political science, B.A., social science-public administration, Central Washington University
Community/political experience: Washington state Senate (present); Washington state House of Representatives (two terms); Snohomish County Red Cross board; Everett Community College Foundation board; Operation Latchkey board; Snohomish County Workforce Development Council board; Snohomish County Neutral Zone, ex-officio
Campaign Web site: www.aaronreardon.com
1. What does Snohomish County government do well? What could it do better?
Snohomish County has a plan for priority-based budgeting and spending. The county now must implement the plan and follow through to completion. Moreover, the county needs to develop a long-term strategic plan to diversify the economy, manage growth and stabilize the tax base.
2. What's the biggest issue it faces in the next two years? How would you address it?
Declining revenues and a slow economy are the two biggest issues. First, implement the priority-based budgeting model that is ready to go. Second, implement program and department performance audits. Last, develop and implement a long-term strategic plan to diversify and grow the economy.
3. Should the county consider any different sources of revenue?
The most effective method to create additional revenue is to diversify and grow the economy. This puts people to work and generates additional revenue without the need for raising sales or property taxes. Also, priority-based budgeting and performance audits must be implemented to identify savings.
4. Should the county try for the third time this year to pass a sales-tax increase for its new jail, or devise another plan?
The county is rightly making reductions to the budget this fiscal year to account for the failure of the two initiatives. To achieve long-term fiscal solvency and protect critical services, priority-based budgeting and department performance audits must be implemented.
5. Should the county deal with transportation itself or participate in a regional agency with independent taxing authority?
Both. Critical, local road projects can quickly be addressed by the county using its bonding authority. The overall approach must be regional to address existing and potential choke points and improve areas that negatively impact commerce. The most effective body for this is the Regional Transportation Investment District.
6. How should the county plan for growth in unincorporated areas?
The county must go beyond developing a comprehensive plan to simply address state mandates under the Growth Management Act. I will work with stakeholders to develop a 10-year strategic plan that protects our streams, plans for quality parks and creates jobs so our citizens can live and work in the same community.