Snohomish County’s decision to cancel an expensive new courthouse should be a lesson to other governments. Winter is coming.

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SNOHOMISH County needs a better courthouse. The old one was last expanded 49 years ago, when the county had five judges; it now has 20. The courthouse’s structural deficiencies make it vulnerable to an earthquake. It’s cluttered and claustrophobic.

But County Executive Dave Somers made a wise decision in recommending that the county cancel a long-debated $160 million new courthouse and remodel the old one instead, at a cost of less than $100 million.

Though Snohomish County is the state’s fastest-growing county, Somers saw the county’s finances so squeezed that he faces laying people off next year. Scarce resources are better spent fighting a heroin epidemic. “It just didn’t make sense anymore,” Somers said of the new courthouse.

Seattle is also facing looming fiscal pressure, but of a different kind. Although the city is also growing fast, economic forecasts predict a slowing economy and a cooling of the historic building boom fueled by Amazon.

Seattle needs a dose of Snohomish County-style prioritization.”

That will put a pinch on Seattle because the city has been on a spending binge. Since the start of Mayor Ed Murray’s term, city government has grown by 685 positions — and that doesn’t count the much-needed addition of 100 police officers.

Squeezed between economic reality and big-city ambitions, the city’s departments are being asked to prepare for cuts of up to 4 percent.

But city officials are also reaching into a bag of tricks familiar to city taxpayers. Proposals for increased business taxes and fees are now in the works.

Instead, Seattle needs a dose of Snohomish County-style prioritization — live within the city’s means. That’s better for taxpayers who are weathering a slate of massive new property tax levies — all while facing the same larger economic uncertainty local governments are.

This makes smart fiscal sense.

The U.S. is in the midst of the third-longest recovery without a recession since the Great Depression. The economic waves of history suggest we’re overdue for a big slowdown. Shaky global economic growth should be of particular concern in Washington, the most trade-dependent state. And the region’s hottest engine of growth — the South Lake Union neighborhood — will sooner or later be fully built out.

Governments should begin beefing up reserves. When Washington’s Legislature failed to do that before the last recession, it had to cut from its budget with a meat cleaver. Vital services, such as the mental-health system and higher education, took years to recover.

Winter is coming, eventually. Stock up now.