Pomeroy voters weigh levy

The rate is lower in the measure because of a wind project's taxes, officials say.

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POMEROY -- Voters in the Pomeroy School District will decide by Feb. 14 whether to renew a one-year maintenance and operations levy. The levy amount is $920,000 is estimated to cost property owners $2.64 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $264 for the owner of a property valued at $100,000.

The replacement levy rate is lower than the current levy rate because Puget Sound Energy has taken on paying a bigger share of the tax burden, according to information provided by the district. Puget Sound Energy's first phase of the Lower Snake River Wind Project is located in Garfield County.

The school board made a commitment in 2009 to keep replacement levy projected rates reasonable. The proposed rate is well below actual rates per $1,000 of assessed valuation of past years.

The proposed levy will be used to continue funding reduced class size, buying technology and curriculum materials, offering athletics and activities, and paying for additional non-employee related costs such as utilities.

Like other districts across the state, Pomeroy is uncertain about future state funding. Potential losses include levy equalization funding, K-4 small classroom funding, and reduction of safety net money for special education.

Other impacts on the budget include increased heating and vehicle fuel costs, and increased employee retirement and health care costs to be covered by the district.

Deadline for mailing ballots is Feb. 14, the date of the special election. Ballots can be turned in to the Garfield County Auditor's office in the Courthouse until 8 p.m., when the election closes.

The levy needs a simple majority to pass.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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