Levies, bond to be decided by voters

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Most school districts in Columbia, Garfield and Walla Walla counties are seeking replacement maintenance and operation levies in the special election Feb. 9.

In general, M & O levies for schools pay for items not provided through basic education funds from the state. This includes utility costs, cocurricular activities and some teaching positions.

Besides replacement M & O levies, one district is seeking approval of a bond measure to remodel a building, and another seeks a one-year capital projects levy to make building repairs and upgrades.

School M & O levies and the capital project levy requires a simple majority to pass.

Columbia County Public Hospital District No. 1 is asking a second time to approve a one-year levy to finance health information technology. The measure requires a 60 percent majority to pass. In November, it missed passage by less than 1 percent.

Voters can expect to receive mailed ballots by the end of this week.

Marked ballots may be returned by mail or in person to the county auditor’s office by the end of the business day Feb. 9. Mailed ballots must be postmarked Feb. 9 to be counted.

College Place M & O levy

COLLEGE PLACE — College Place School District is seeking a four-year replacement M & O levy. Levy amounts for the four years are $2,380,000 for 2011; 2,580,000 for 2012, $2,780,000 for 2013 and $2,980,000 for 2014.

Estimated cost per $1,000 assessed valuation is $2.57 in 2011, $2.74 for 2012, $2.89 for 2013 and $3.04 for 2014.

Columbia County Public Hospital District levy

DAYTON — Columbia County Public Hospital District is asking voters to approve a one-year $795,000 levy to finance health information technology. Cost of the measure would be $1.29 per $1,000 assessed valuation to be collected in 2010. If approved, the levy would cost $129 for an owner of a property valued at $100,000.

If approved, the levy would provide for a complete record of patients’ health history and visits. The levy would purchase integrated software for all Columbia County Health Systems departments, computers and servers to run the programs and a wireless networking system.

Advantages of the technology include eligibility for federal stimulus money that will become available specifically for projects such as these. The technology will also enhance processing of Medicare reimbursements, according to hospital officials.

Providers without the technology in place by 2015 will face Medicare reimbursement penalties.

Benefits of health information technology for patients include immediate access to vital patient information, greater accuracy, enhanced confidentiality and patient-friendly billing, hospital officials said.

Dayton seeks two levies

DAYTON — Dayton School District seeks $1.1 million to be collected in 2011 and in 2012. Approximate M & O levy rate per $1,000 assessed valuation is $2.25.

The district is also asking voters to approve a one-time levy for $92,685 to resurface the athletic track, and replace exterior doors at Dayton Elementary School. If approved, the levy would be collected in 2011. Estimated cost is 19 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.

Pomeroy bond issue

POMEROY — Pomeroy School District is asking voters to approve a $4.5 million bond measure for modernization of the Pomeroy Junior/Senior High School.

Improvements would include reconstruction of the girls and boys locker rooms, science labs, career and technical areas, repair of foundation and roof, remove asbestos, upgrade heating and air condition systems, mechanical and electrical systems, and improve indoor air quality, safety and technology systems.

If approved, the district would issue general obligation bonds maturing within 18 years. If the bond is approved, $4.9 million in state matching funds will complete the financial package for the project.

The bond measure requires a super-majority of 60 percent approval to pass.

Prescott M & O levy

PRESCOTT — Prescott School District seeks a $585,000, two-year, replacement M & O levy. Estimated cost for property owners is $2.60 per $1,000 assessed valuation to be collected in 2011 and 2012.

Touchet M & O levy

TOUCHET — Voters in the Touchet School District are being asked to approve a three-year M & O levy, to be collected in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The levy amounts represent an overall reduction of nearly $20,000 per levy year over the previous two-year levy, according to Superintendent Dan McDonald.

Levy amounts are $676,546 to be collected in 2011 and $684,355 in 2012 and 2013. Estimated cost per $1,000 assessed valuation is $3.12 in 2011, $3.12 in 2012 and $3.15 in 2013.

Waitsburg M & O levy

WAITSBURG — Waitsburg School District seeks a two-year replacement M & O levy. If approved, the levy collected in 2011 would be $410,000, and in 2012, $422,000.

Estimated cost for 2011 is $3.65 per $1,000 assessed valuation, and for 2012, $3.75 per $1,000 assessed valuation.

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