EDITOR’S NOTE: The result of the Forks mayoral contest has been corrected.
Port of Port Angeles incumbent Colleen McAleer was far ahead of challenger Michael Cobb for Sequim-area Position 1 on the port board of commissioners while voters were headed toward approving a sales tax increase for juvenile detention facilities in countywide contests after the initial count of general election ballots Tuesday night.
The Clallam County Auditor’s Office Tuesday night counted 14,386 votes out of 51,021 provided to registered voters for a voter turnout of 28.20 percent. Auditor Shoona Riggs said 2,300 ballots are on hand that have not been counted and that more will come in this week in the all-mail election. The second count of ballots will be by 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The office will be closed Friday for the Veterans Day holiday.
Port Angeles voters were exceeding the simple majority threshold in slamming down a measure to downgrade the city’s status from a code city to a second-class city, were agreeing to allow a hike in the debt limit for the William Shore Memorial Pool — paving the way to an expansion of the city’s only public pool — and were headed toward opting in an advisory vote to tell the City Council to continue keeping fluoride out of the municipal water supply.
Leading in races for four-year terms on the Port Angeles City Council were Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, running against Artur Wojnowski for Position 3 and Kate Dexter, who was just 37 votes ahead of Travis Berglund for Position 4.
Jim Moran is on his way to filling the Position 1 seat and Mike French the Position 2 seat. Candidates running against them — Todd Negus for Position 1 and Jake Oppelt for Position 2 — dropped out after the deadline for removing their names from the ballot.
The race for mayor of Forks — which has a strong mayor form of government — between Ken Ayers, who has been serving on the council as the Position 4 appointee, and Tim Fletcher had Fletcher far ahead of Ayers while Joe Soha was defeating Mike Gilstrap for Forks City Council Position 3, a four-year position. Bill Brager, who is currently the Position 3 incumbent, was leading against Bridgette Soha in the first count of ballots for the two-year unexpired term for council Position 4.
In the contest for a six-year term on the Forks Community Hospital, appointee Gerald (Jerry) George was outdistancing Skyler DeMatties for the Position 5 seat.
Sequim School district voters, which include some Jefferson County residents, appeared to give their nod to appointee Brian Kuh, running against Jon Kirshbaum for the Position 2 seat, and Brandino Gibson, running against Nola Judd, for the Position 4 seat, both four-year terms on the Sequim School Board.
Crescent School District voters also appeared to have chosen appointee Ann Chang over Kathy Conat for Position 1 on the School Board, and Lee Evinger over Amanda K. Jennings for Position 2, both four-year terms.
Cape Flattery School Board candidate Janet Campbell was leading in votes against Joe McGimpsey for Position 3, a four-year term.
In Fire District 1, which covers the Forks area and part of Jefferson County, Tony Romberg was in the lead for Position 5. This race was unusual for a general election in that it had three candidates. Neris Biciunas and John Witherspoon also are running.
Romberg was appointed to the post after incumbent Lowell McQuoid’s fellow commissioners removed him from office May 14, saying he had violated the district’s meeting-attendance policy by missing too many meetings.
The district did not notify the Clallam County Auditor’s Office in time to provide, as mandated by state law, at least three days in the regular filing period for candidates to file for McQuoid’s unexpired term of four years.
Three candidates filed for the position during a special May 30-June 1 filing period for the general election.
The general election winner will be seated after the vote is certified Nov. 28.
In other Forks Fire District 1 races, which covers part of Jefferson County, Dustin Kraft was leading Jodi Riker for Position 1 and incumbent Chet Hunt was leading Britni Duncan for Position 2.
In Fire District 2 — which covers 85 square miles around, but not including, Port Angeles — Tom Martin was far ahead of Patricia Reifenstahl for the six-year Position 1 seat on the board of commissioners.
In Fire District 3, which includes Sequim and edges into Jefferson County, appointee Steven Chinn apparently was elected against Sean Ryan for the short- and full-term, six-year Position 2 seat.
In Fire District 5 — which covers Clallam Bay, Sekiu and surrounding West End areas — Roy (Spider) Wright, the incumbent, was leading Michael Maines Jr. for a six-year term.
The countywide juvenile justice tax measure, if approved by a simple majority, would increase the sales tax by 0.1 percent to generate an estimated $1.1 million per year for equipment, repairs, maintenance and operations of the Juvenile and Family Services facility in Port Angeles, which detains and provides services to juveniles in Clallam County.
It would boost the overall sales tax in Clallam County to 8.5 percent.
The state pays about 40 percent of the costs of the facility. The rest is picked up in the county’s general fund budget. The agency is operating at a loss of $1.75 million to $2 million a year, county Administrator Jim Jones has said.
The measure to change Port Angeles’ form of government would change the city from a non-charter code city to a second-class city. It was placed on the ballot after a petition was circulated by the anti-fluoridation group Our Water, Our Choice!.
The ballot measure says that approval would force a new election of a the full City Council; others have said that approval could force it into the courts.
If voters approve a debt limit hike for the William Shore Memorial Pool by a required 60 percent supermajority, commissioners plan to add about 6 cents per $1,000 of property valuation in the pool district — which is the same area as the Port Angeles School District — to help fund the addition of 10,000 square feet to the 15,000-square-foot facility.
The property tax increase would cost about $12 a year for the owner of a $200,000 home.
The district also would issue no more than $3.5 million of general obligation bonds maturing within 30 years.
If the measure is approved, at a future time commissioners would consider an additional levy increase totaling about 4 cents per $1,000 of valuation to complete the project.
That future increase would mean a tax bill of about $20 a year for the owner of a $200,000 home.
The measure would allow an increase of $3.5 million in bonded capacity that would be added to $5.5 million in existing capacity and be paid back with property tax-funded levy money.
The advisory vote on fluoridation follows action by the City Council in August 2016 that stopped fluoridating the municipal water supply pending the advisory ballot.
As an advisory vote it is non-binding but the council has said it would be guided by the results in deciding whether to resume fluoridation.