Special election ballots due today

Forks hospital, school levies to be decided

North Olympic Peninsula residents are voting on eight levies this Election Day, with four in Clallam County and four in Jefferson County.

Ballots in the special election, which were mailed to voters on Jan. 24, must be postmarked or placed in ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. tonight to be counted. Auditor’s offices will be open until 8 p.m. on Election Night.

All but one are 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. Monday was 36.68 percent, with 4,907 ballots returned out of 13,379 provided to registered voters.

In Clallam County, voter turnout as of 5 p.m. Monday was 22.0 percent, with 1,556 ballots returned out of 7,074 provided to registered voters.

Jefferson County

Residents of four taxing districts in Jefferson County — Queets-Clearwater, Brinnon, Quilcene and Chimacum — are voting on a single proposition each.

• Queets-Clearwater — In the Queets-Clearwater School District, voters are asked to approve a levy of $85,000 annually for three years, expiring in 2027. The new levy would amount to roughly $0.88 per $1,000 of assessed property values. The current levy rate in the district is $1.23 per $1,000.

No for or against statements were submitted to the proposition.

• Brinnon —The Brinnon School District is asking for an educational programs and operations levy of $684,561 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.

No for or against statements were submitted.

• Quilcene —The Quilcene School District is asking voters to approve a new levy of $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.

Chimacum

Chimacum School District is asking voters to approve an annual levy of $2.3 million over four years, ending in 2028. The amount levied would begin at $0.66 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2025 and end at $0.59 per $1,000 in 2028. The current levy is $0.69 per $1,000.

“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.”

No statements opposed to the measure were submitted.

Official ballot drop boxes are located at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend; the Brinnon Community Center, 306144 U.S. Highway 101; the Quilcene Community Center, 294952 U.S. Highway 101; the Jefferson County Public Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port Hadlock; the Nordland Fire Station, 6633 Flagler Road, Nordland; the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center, 93 Beaver Valley Road, Port Ludlow; and the Queets Tribal Office in Queets.

Clallam County

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

• Forks Community Hospital — Forks Community Hospital (Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 1) is asking voters to approve a levy lid lift that 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 education programs and operations levy and a $500,000 capital projects levy.

The EP&O levy 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 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 EP&O replacement levy will 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.

Three of the nine drop boxes are at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles. Two are outside the building and one is in the elections office in Room 42. The other six are in Carlsborg at 261461 U.S. Highway 101 near Sunny Farms, adjacent to Mill Road; Clallam Bay at 16990 state Highway 112 in front of the Clallam Bay Library; Forks at 500 E. Division St., outside Forks City Hall; Neah Bay at 1450 Bayview Ave., in front of Washburn’s General Store; Sekiu at 15 Sekiu Airport Road; and Sequim in the parking lot at 651 W. Washington St.

Additional information can be found at the Jefferson County Auditor’s website, co.jefferson.wa.us/1266/Elections or at 360-385-9117 and at the Clallam County Auditor’s website at https://www.clallamcountywa.gov/162/Elections-Voter-Registration or 360-417-2217.

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