Most special election measures headed for approval

Quilcene EP&O too close to call

Dave Logan / for Peninsula Daily News
Ryan O’Hara, a Clallam County election assistant, grabs a bundle of 83 ballots that had gone through the first step of validation in the electronic sorting machine after arrival to election headquarters in the basement of the Clallam County Courthouse on Election Day.

Dave Logan / for Peninsula Daily News Ryan O’Hara, a Clallam County election assistant, grabs a bundle of 83 ballots that had gone through the first step of validation in the electronic sorting machine after arrival to election headquarters in the basement of the Clallam County Courthouse on Election Day.

Early returns in Tuesday’s special election showed seven of the eight measures on the North Olympic Peninsula were on the way to approval.

Quilcene’s educational programs and operations levy was too close to call Tuesday night.

All but one of the measures would fund public school districts. On the Clallam County ballot is a levy lid lift to benefit Forks Community Hospital. All measures require a simple majority (50 percent plus one) to pass.

In Jefferson County, voter turnout as of 5 p.m. Tuesday was 38.53 percent, with 5,139 ballots counted out of 13,339 provided to registered voters and 52 ballots estimated yet to count. This does not include ballots still in the mail. The next count will be by 4 p.m. Thursday.

In Clallam County, voter turnout as of 5 p.m. Tuesday was 24.55 percent, with 1,736 ballots counted out of 7,070 provided to registered voters. The next count will be by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Here are the totals as of Tuesday night.

Jefferson County

Residents of four taxing districts in Jefferson County — Queets-Clearwater, Brinnon, Quilcene and Chimacum public school districts — voted on a single proposition in each district.

Brinnon School District —The Brinnon School District educational programs and operations levy had 296 votes, or 69.48 percent, in favor and 130 votes, or 30.52 percent, opposed.

The EP&O levy of $684,561 would be over two years, amounting to $0.71 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2025 and $0.69 per $1,000 in 2026.

The current levy rate is $0.77 per $1,000.

• Chimacum School District — The Chimacum School District capital projects levy won 2,519 votes, or 62.68 percent, in favor and 1,500 votes, or 37.32 percent, opposed.

The annual levy would provide the district $2.3 million over four years, ending in 2028.

The amount levied would begin at 66 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2025 and end at 59 cents per $1,000 in 2028.

The current levy is 69 cents per $1,000. The new levy is an increase from the previously approved $1.325 million per year collection amount approved in 2012 and renewed in 2018.

“The levy would provide new playgrounds at Chimacum Creek Primary and Elementary (schools). HVAC systems for heating and cooling would be updated,” said a statement supporting the measure written by Maren Johnson. “Improvements would include paint and carpet at Chimacum Creek Primary. Preparation for ongoing and unplanned repairs to maintain facilities would be an important part of the levy.”

• Queets-Clearwater School District — The Queets-Clearwater School District educational programs and operations levy won 12 votes, or 70.59 percent, in favor and five votes, or 29.41 percent, opposed.

The EP&O levy of $85,000 would range over three years, expiring in 2027. Its purpose is to augment state funding so the district can meet the requirements for basic education, the board said.

The new levy would amount to roughly 88 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The current levy rate in the district is $1.23 per $1,000.

• Quilcene School District —The Quilcene School District’s replacement educational programs and operations levy had 329 votes, or 49.1 percent, in favor and 341 votes, or 50.9 percent, opposed.

The EP&O levy would be $904,537 in 2025, increasing incrementally to more than $1 million in 2028.

While the annual levy amount will increase each year, the amount taxed will remain the same for all four years of the levy at $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The current levy is $1.14 per $1,000.

The levy augments school programs, a brochure from the district said. A statement in opposition submitted to the county said the district’s plan lacked measurable student improvement metrics.

Clallam County

Residents of three taxing districts in Clallam County — Forks Community Hospital and Crescent and Cape Flattery public school districts — voted on propositions. Two are in the Crescent district.

• Forks Community Hospital — The levy lid lift for Forks Community Hospital (Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 1) won 591 votes, or 55.86 percent, in favor and 467 votes, or 44.14 percent, opposed.

The levy lid lift would restore the property tax rate to 75 cents per $1,000 assessed value, the maximum allowed under state law. The levy rate has declined from 75 cents in 2006 — the last time the hospital asked voters for a levy increase — to the current rate of 42.8 cents.

Under state law, any levy tax property increase — a lid lift — must be approved by voters.

If the levy is approved, the hospital would collect an additional $320,000 a year — almost double the $350,000 it currently collects.

The levy represents a significant part of the hospital’s annual operating budget of more than $40 million, said CFO Paul Babcock. It helps support the OB-GYN program and assists in paying for charity care. Last year the hospital provided almost $900,000 in assistance for patients who were unable to pay for all or some of their care.

• Crescent Schools — Crescent School District has two measures on the ballot: a $3.45 million replacement education programs and operations levy and a $500,000 replacement capital projects levy.

The EP&O levy won 449 votes, or 66.72 percent, in favor and 224 votes, or 33.28 percent, opposed. It would collect $690,000 a year for four years from 2025 to 2028. The estimated levy rates are $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2025; $1.03 in 2026; $1 in 2027 and $0.97 in 2028.

The monies from the EP&O levy would pay for those programs and services for Crescent’s 360 students that are not funded or not fully funded by the state, such as athletics and activities, transportation, professional development for teachers and technology for students and staff.

The capital projects levy had 459 votes, or 68.2 percent, in favor and 214 votes, or 31.8 percent, opposed.

It would collect $125,000 a year (the same amount as the expiring levy) over the next four years at an estimated rate starting at $0.188 per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2025; $0.182 in 2026; $0.177 in 2027 and $0.172 in 2028.

Superintendent David Bingham said a property owner with a $300,000 house would pay $3.60 more a month in taxes if both initiatives passed — or $43.20 more a year.

The district is asking the community to support infrastructure, like a new roof for the shop building and upgraded lighting, and to keep popular programs it already has, like music.

• Cape Flattery Schools — The Cape Flattery School District’s four-year, $1.8 million education programs and operations replacement levy won 139 votes, or 60.96 percent, in favor and 89 votes, or 39.04 percent, opposed.

The EP&O levy would cost taxpayers $1.84 per $1,000 in assessed property value over the next four years when the current levy expires in 2024.

It would collect $439,860 in 2024 for 2025; $453,055 in 2025 for 2026; $466,647 in 2026 for 2027; and $480,646 in 2027 for 2028.

The rate is lower than the maximum of $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed value districts are allowed under state law.

The district has campuses in Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation and in Clallam Bay. However, levy funds are earmarked for Clallam Bay School and its 100 K-12 students because the revenue is collected in that community.

Like for the Crescent School District, monies from Cape Flattery’s EP&O levy bridge the gap between state funding and what it actually costs the district to operate. Among those costs are paraeducator, counselor and school nurse salaries, as well as supplies and materials, technology upgrades and extracurricular activities like athletics.

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