SWISS is a collaborative organization of the the five northwest counties in Washington State including Snohomish, Whatcom, Island, Skagit, and San Juan Counties. Councilmember Nehring joined Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki in bringing together the county elected officials from the five counties in 2020 to launch the effort.
The five-county region already coordinates in some efforts. The North Sound Behavioral Health Associated Service Organization (NSBH-ASO) is a collaborative organization that contracts with the State of Washington to provide behavioral health and crisis intervention services to our residents. By partnering as a 5 county region, counties are able to leverage more dollars efficiently to address the needs in our communities.
The counties also work together as a region as part of the Washington State Emergency Management Division. Our 5 counties coordinate our disaster preparedness plans and are ready to help support each other in case of catastrophic events.
The SWISS effort is intended to build on these existing relationships to expand our coordination on service delivery as well as advocacy to the legislature on issues that affect all of us. The thinking behind this is that we can be more successful at affecting policy at the state level and bringing funding back to our communities if we speak as one voice.
The SWISS Counties have adopted the following areas of focus:
In 2022, the SWISS Counties partnered with the Washington State Association of Counties for administrative and strategic support of the efforts of SWISS. This additional support will help the counties effectively advocate and collaborate on their shared priorities.