Peninsula levies on February ballot

The 2021 Special Election on Feb. 9 will have voters across the North Olympic Peninsula deciding on key levy replacements for a handful of school districts, a Forks Community Hospital levy and a capital levy for Sequim School District.

Not all registered voters in Clallam and Jefferson counties will receive a ballot, as this election pertains strictly to the affected voting districts.

About 32,000 ballots were mailed in Clallam County, and as of Thursday, about 7,000 had been returned for about 21.9 percent ballot return, while Jefferson County has issued 11,351 ballots and as of Thursday had received 2,615 or about 23 percent ballot return, according to county election coordinators.

Although the ballots are received, officials are still working through officially accepting them.

The election in Clallam County includes the Sequim School District replacement Educational Programs and Operation (EP&O) levy and a new capital levy to improve school facilities,

Quillayute Valley School District in Forks also has an EP&O levy and the Forks Community Hospital (Clallam County Hospital District 1) has a levy for emergency medical care and services, according to the Clallam County Auditor’s Office.

The Jefferson County election has some residents voting on the Sequim and Quillayute school district measures, as well as replacement EP&O levies for Chimacum School District and Queets-Clearwater School District, according to the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office.

The Sequim School District proposals include a four-year, $29.7 million EP&O levy that replaces Sequim’s current local tax and pays for core learning functions not supported in state’s basic education formula, as well as a four-year, $15 million capital projects levy to address a number of building issues.

Taxpayers in the district would pay between $1.87 ($1.24 for the EP&O levy, 63 cents for the capital projects levy) and $1.89 ($1.26/$0.63) per $1,000 of assessed value starting in 2022 through 2026, district officials said.

The Quillayute levy is a four-year EP&O levy of about $2.86 million to fill financial education gaps not funded by the state. It would have taxpayers pay an estimated $1.25 and $1.16 per 1,000 assessed value beginning in 2022, according to VoteWa.gov.

The Forks Community Hospital proposal would add an additional tax of 32 cents or less per $1,000 for six-years for an estimated $1.176 million to help fund emergency medical care and services , according to the resolution passed by the Commission of Public Hospital District 1.

The Chimacum School District replacement EP&O levy is a four-year levy that amounts to a total of $8.7 million to finance educational operations and maintenance. It would cost taxpayers about 86 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation in 2022 and would decrease each year to a low of 82 cents per 1,000 assessed value, according to VoteWa.gov.

The Queets-Clearwater School District EP&O replacement levy is a three-year levy, estimated at about $225,000. It would cost taxpayers an estimated $1.25 per 1,000 assessed valuation each year starting in 2022 to finance maintenance and operation expenses, according to VoteWa.gov.

Monday is the last day for voters to change their voting registration by mail, phone or online. After that date, voters will have to go to the appropriate county auditor’s office to change registrations in person.

Ballots can be mailed or dropped into an official election dropbox until 8 p.m. Feb. 9. It is recommended that if ballots are mailed through the U.S/. Postal Serviced that voters have the ballot physically postmarked with the mailing date to make sure it’s counted.

Ballot box locations for Clallam County can be found at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-ClallamDropboxes and locations for Jefferson County boxes can be found at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-JeffersonDropboxes.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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