WENATCHEE — A Link Transit proposal to raise taxes to fund more services is passing with a combined 56% of the vote in Chelan and Douglas counties.
The measure is passing in Chelan County with 58% approval, but failing in Douglas County with 49% approval. However, the measure needs only a combined simple majority vote to be approved.
Link’s proposal would raise sales and use taxes for residents in its service area by two tenths of 1%. The tax costs the average household $24 a year.
Link serves Chelan and Douglas counties from Malaga to Leavenworth, and from Rock Island to Waterville, Ardenvoir and Manson.
With the funds, Link wants to add new buses to its fleet, expand routes and extend days and hours of service.
Link officials say they’d need another $5.5 million a year to pay for those costs. The tax increase would produce about $6 million in revenue.
If the measure passes, Link will phase the new money into its budget over in two installments: the first tenth in January 2020 and the second tenth in January 2022.
With the first portion of the tax revenue, Link in 2020 would extend hours on major routes and add more rides to Chelan, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Rock Island, Entiat, Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.
In 2021, Link would extend its hours again on major routes, add Saturday service to Waterville, Rock Island and Malaga, and add Sunday services.
The following year, with the second half of the tax revenue, Link would add new buses and increase frequency on major routes.
The next vote count is Friday and final results will be certified Aug. 20.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the measure needed to pass in both counties.