Today is Election Day for six area school districts, Garfield County Public Hospital District and the city of Walla Walla's transportation benefit district proposition. It is also the last day to submit ballots for the special elections.
Garfield County voters had returned over 60 percent of ballots out by Monday afternoon, while Columbia County returns were at 50 percent this morning. Walla Walla County Auditor Karen Martin said that as of this morning 9,589 of 20,757 ballots mailed had come in, a return rate of 46 percent.
Walla Walla School District patrons are being asked to approve a four-year replacement levy for school programs and operations. The levy seeks $10.2 million to be collected in 2013; $10.5 million in 2014; $10.7 million in 2015 and $11 million in 2016. Estimated cost per $1,000 of assessed value ranges from $3.64 in 2013 to $3.81 in 2016. The levy replaces an expiring levy.
Walla Walla city voters are being asked to decide on a sales and use tax of up to 0.02 percent be collected from all taxable retail sales for 10 years to pay for street work.
Dixie, Waitsburg and Prescott school districts are all asking for two-year replacement maintenance and operations levies.
Dixie School District seeks $230,730 to be collected in 2013 and 2014. Estimated levy rate each year is $3.48 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Waitsburg voters will decide whether to approve a replacement levy for $435,000 to be collected in 2013 and $447,000 to be collected in 2014. Estimated cost per $1,000 of assessed value is $3.62 in 2013 and $3.72 in 2014.
In Prescott School District, voters are asked to approve $585,000 to be collected in 2013 and 2014. Estimated cost per $1,000 of assessed value is $2.39 for each year.
Dayton School District is seeking a four-year replacement levy, for $1.3 million for each of the four years. Estimated cost per $1,000 of assessed value ranges from $2.33 in 2013 to $2.26 in 2016.
The Dayton district is also asking approval of a four-year capital levy for technology and upgrade of the high school gymnasium bleachers. That levy seeks $255,000 to be collected in 2013, at an estimated levy rate of 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The amount collected in 2013 would include $180,000 for the bleachers and $75,000 for technology. The following three years, the amount collected would be $75,000 for technology only, with a rate of 14 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2014 and 2015 and 13 cents in 2016.
Garfield County Public Hospital District is asking voters for a one-year, $920,000 levy to help sustain the hospital until reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid stabilize. Estimated cost per $1,000 of assessed value is $2.64.
Carrie Chicken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 522-5289.
If you haven't put your ballot in the mail, it's not too late, but mailed ballots must be postmarked on Election Day, today. Ballots mailed after postal collections have been made for the day will be postmarked the following day.
For the die-hard procrastinator, ballots can be turned in in person to the auditors' offices in Walla Walla, Garfield and Columbia county courthouses until 8 p.m., when polls officially close. Drop boxes are available in Starbuck and in the alley next to the courthouse in Dayton.
Official drop boxes in Walla Walla County are available 24 hours a day, and until 8 p.m. on election day. Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before Feb. 14. The boxes are located in Walla Walla in the alley between the Courthouse and alley, at 5th and Poplar on the outside by the corner of the ramp, and at the Walla Walla Fire Station 2 at 170 N. Wilbur Ave. Boxes are also located at city halls in College Place (alley behind) and Waitsburg (sidewalk by front door).