Absentee Ballots Hold Key To Stevens County Tax Items
Absentee ballots will determine whether two tax measures were approved Tuesday in Stevens County.
Voters strongly supported a two-year, $100,000 Loon Lake School District operating levy and a request by Fire District 5 to increase its permanent tax levy from 82 cents to $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. But the turnout for both measures fell short of validation requirements.
The fire district, which serves the Arden and Addy areas between Colville and Chewelah, needed half the turnout of last year’s general election. The school district needed 60 percent.
In both cases, County Auditor Tim Gray said, enough absentee ballots were issued to allow the required turnout.
If the measures pass, though, it will more likely happen because absentees lift yes votes to the number that would have been needed if the minimum turnout had been achieved, Gray said. State law says proposals don’t need additional no votes to reach the minimum turnout as long as they have the required number of yes votes.
The Loon Lake School District levy needs 331 total votes to validate, or 199 yes votes. So far, the vote is 142-54, a 72.5 percent approval rate. Gray said 96 of 135 absentee ballots have been returned.
The Fire District 5 measure needs 355 total votes to validate, or 178 yes votes. So far, the vote is 161-42, a 79.3 percent approval rate. Gray said 103 of 161 absentee ballots have been returned.
Absentee ballots may be counted early next week, but properly postmarked ballots will be accepted until Sept. 26.