The Board of Health convened a budget ad hoc committee that met a total of four times from August to October. Members of the committee are Chair Stephanie Wright, County Councilmember Megan Dunn, Edmonds City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, and Snohomish City Councilmember Linda Redmon. The committee reviewed proposed revenues and expenditures and gave instruction to staff regarding budget parameters and direction.
The preliminary budget (Exhibit A) highlights a list of the many accomplishments made during 2020, despite the ongoing work related to the pandemic. It’s important to note that without the emergency funding from the state legislature and federal CARES Act dollars through Snohomish County, the Health District would not have had the capacity to sustain its almost yearlong response to the pandemic. We continue to actively engage with the federal delegation along with local partners to ensure these dollars are both extended past the December 2020 deadline and expanded to continue supporting critical response efforts.
The preliminary budget includes the following assumptions:
Adding 2.0 FTE (1.0 FTE in Environmental Health for the Onsite Monitoring and Maintenance program, 0.5 FTE for an accountant, and 0.5 FTE for a grants coordinator).
A preliminary increase of 5.0% for 2021 medical and dental rates through Public Employee Benefits Board.
No increase in 2021 vision rates through Washington Counties Insurance Fund.
PERS employer rated increased from 12.86% to 12.97% as of September 2020. The Washington State Actuary is currently projecting rates to fall to 10.25% as of July 1, 2021. This budget averages the two rates for an 11.61% PERS rate for 2021.
Interest rates have declined significantly since April 2020, and a 35% decrease in interest income is reflected in the 2021 budget.
Projected revenues through 2027 are insufficient to cover projected expenditure increases, the bulk of which are due to an ongoing rise in labor costs. While 2021 through 2025 are fairly stable, current trends would leave the District with an inadequate total fund balance to cover reserves starting in 2026. Securing new and sustainable funding sources is critical to the agency’s long term financial stability. This includes revenues anticipated from the new public health foundation, as well as rental of unused space in the Rucker Building.
The 2020 Amended Budget reflects the influx of CARES Act and other COVID-19 funding. Most of that funding is currently set to expire in December 2020. While we anticipate receiving an extension and additional dollars in 2021, nothing has been confirmed so this budget does not include those projections.
Included in the preliminary budget is a capital budget request of $70,000 to replace the IT servers and switches, as well as non-capital requests totaling $503,988, which includes estimated costs for much-needed operations and maintenance work for the Rucker Building, record digitization, and a new electronic health record system.
The Board will hold two public hearings regarding the 2021 budget—one at the November Board meeting and the second at the December Board meeting, with final adoption of the 2021 budget expected at the December 8 Board meeting.