West End voters approve Quillayute Valley schools, Forks hospital levies

FORKS — West End school and hospital administrators on Wednesday were basking in the glow of voter approval.

About one in three voters took part in the election that ended Tuesday. They resoundingly approved multi-year levies that Quillayute Valley School District and Forks Community Hospital leaders said were vital to their operations.

Auditor Shoona Riggs said about 175 more votes will be counted today for the election that ended Tuesday.

In the tally of ballots as of Wednesday that were due by 8 p.m. Tuesday, a Clallam County Hospital District 1 emergency medical services generated an approval margin of yes votes, 984 to 419, or 70.14 percent to 29.86 percent. Turnout is 28 percent of 5,023 ballots mailed to voters.

Likewise the Quillayute Valley School District’s replacement levy for educational programs and operations garnered 679 to 507 voter approval, or 57.25 percent to 42.75 percent.

The breakdown: In Clallam County 649 votes, or 56.63 percent approved the measure to 497, or 43.37 percent, opposing it; in Jefferson County, 30 votes, or 75 percent, were cast in favor while 10 votes, or 25 percent, voted against it.

“It’s a pretty good day for the schools,” Quillayute Valley Schools Superintendent Diana Reaume said.

“It’s just a hard climate for schools. We see a win for our children, and we really appreciate the community and their support getting behind our children.

The $2.86 million 2022-2025 measure will pay for programs and expenditures not funded by the state.

In the replacement Educational Programs and operation levy, taxpayers will pay an estimated $1.25 and $1.16 per $1,000 of assessed value beginning in 2022 to fund routine maintenance, minor repairs and educational programs not covered by the state.

It will pay for roof repairs, a high school lighting stage lighting system, kitchen equipment and to sand and seal the high school gym.

It will pay for extracurricular activities, teacher training and classroom materials, such as textbooks and Chrome books.

The per-$1,000 valuation cost will be $1.24 in 2022, $1.22 in 2023, $1.19 in 2024 and $1.17 in 2025.

The school district expects to pay off the bond for the high school in four or five years, after which the district hopes to replace the middle school.

The Forks Community Hospital district emergency services levy will add an additional property tax of 32 cents or less per $1,000 for six years for an estimated $1.176 million.

“I’m very thankful for the voters,” said Paul Babcock, chief financial officer.

“That was a big, strong showing.”

The proceeds will pay for two replacement ambulances that will cost an estimated $300,000 each and a replacement command vehicle that likely will be more than $60,000, Babcock said.

Levy funds also will pay for a new emergency-services communications tower with a repeater on Gunderson Mountain to replaced the existing tower.

The emergency medical services run by the hospital district lost more than $200,000 in 2019 and is expected to lose $350,000, Babcock said.

“The hospital has been subsidizing the EMS services for a while,” he said.

“We’re essentially trying to break even with EMS service.”

The levy that will expire is less than 24 cents per $1,000.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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