NCW levies all passing while bonds are falling short
Originally published February 12, 2013 at 9:07 p.m., updated February 13, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.
NCW — Several school and ambulance levies in Chelan and Okanogan counties are passing after ballots were counted in Tuesday’s special election.
But two bond issues sought by the Entiat and the Okanogan school district are falling short of the required 60 percent needed to pass.
School districts in Leavenworth, Manson, Chelan and Okanogan are all passing maintenance and operations or capital improvement levies, which need 50-percent approval from voters. The Methow Valley’s emergency medical service is also passing its replacement levy.
Special election results
Entiat School modernization bond *
Yes 329 58.4 percent
No 234 41.6 percent
Cascade M&O levy
Yes 1,619 68.5 percent
No 745 31.5 percent
Lake Chelan School capital improvement levy
Yes 832 57.7 percent
No 611 42.3 percent
Manson School M&O levy
Yes 491 69.2 percent
No 219 30.8 percent
Manson School capital improvement levy
Yes 466 65.5 percent
No 246 34.5 percent
Okanogan School M&O levy
Yes 657 62.2 percent
No 399 37.8 percent
Okanogan School general bonds *
Yes 612 58.3 percent
No 437 41.7 percent
Winthrop EMS levy
Yes 141 84.9 percent
No 25 15.1 percent
Methow Valley EMS levy
Yes 1,321 85.2 percent
No 230 14.8 percent
- Bonds require 60-percent approval to pass
On the two bond issues, Okanogan and Entiat school district both hoped to renovate existing buildings by issuing bonds, to be repaid over time.
Voters supported the measures by more than 58 percent. “If you were running for governor, that would be a landslide. But for school bonds, it’s a loss,” said Entiat Superintendent Mike Wyant.
Superintendents of both schools said it’s still possible for their measures to pass, if an overwhelming majority of uncounted ballots are favorable votes.
Entiat sought a nearly $8 million bond to modernize and add on to its elementary school. The school has not had any major improvements for 30 years.
“What we put on the ballot is what we really feel we needed to do for the building that’s getting old,” Wyant said.
He said once all the ballots are counted, the board will have to decide whether to go back to voters with another proposal this year.
Wyant added that he thinks the primary reason the measure is falling short is people’s concern over the increase in property taxes. “Obviously, we’re disappointed, but we understand people’s concerns,” he said.
Okanogan asked voters for $1.15 million to repair everything from roofing to flooring, as well as completing the district’s security system. Voters did pass Okanogan’s request to replace its maintenance and operations levy with more than 60 percent in favor. Only 50 percent is required.
“We’re feeling really good, and thankful that we got over 62 percent for the M&O levy. That was the biggie,” said Superintendent Richard Johnson.
As for the bond to renovate facilities, he added, “We’re awful close, and a lot of people voted, so we feel good about that.”
Johnson said unless the measure squeaks by after all ballots are counted, the board will have to decide how to proceed. He said he’s not sure that voters understood both measures would only raise taxes by 6 cents per $1,000 assessed property value.
Not all ballots that were returned have been counted, and additional ballots are likely to come in the mail this week, elections officials said.
In Chelan County, about 200 ballots have yet to be counted, while in Okanogan County, 34 ballots have not been counted.
Both counties plan to tabulate remaining ballots on Friday.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512
MORE LIKE THIS
Monday, May 20
Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking - Toastmasters Meeting
First United Methodist Church, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, May 20
Wenatchee Fire FC Tryouts
Sunnyslope Elementary School, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 21
Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N. Wenatchee Ave., 7 a.m.
Tuesday, May 21
Alzheimer's Association Caregiver Support Group
Lake Chelan Community Hospital, 1:30 p.m.