Late returns counted Wednesday failed to give Spokane Transit Authority’s Proposition 1 ballot measure enough votes to overcome an election night deficit. With less than 1,000 votes remaining to be counted, the chance of the measure passing is “almost impossible,” Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said.
Spokane County voters on Tuesday were turning down a 0.3 percent sales tax increase to pay for improvements to public transit. But the measure still was too close to call, according to supporters of Proposition 1 from the Spokane Transit Authority.
The first results in today’s special election for expansion of the Spokane Transit Authority system, plus a sales tax extension for juvenile jails, are due shortly after 8 p.m. Check back to spokesman.com after that time for the first ballot count.
The Republican commissioner, who is in the midst of a public disagreement over transit funding with colleague Al French, said Tuesday she supports a measure to add two members to the Spokane County Commission.
The other ballot measure in this month’s special election to fund transit projects is an extension of a 20-year-old sales tax to fund the county’s juvenile detention programs. County commissioners, divided on the transit issue, unanimously endorsed the juvenile jail sales tax on Monday.
The issue of how much Spokane’s top elected official should be paid was revived Monday by Mayor David Condon, who challenged the City Council to “look to solutions rather than just the problem.” Condon called on the City Council to put a measure on the “next available ballot” asking voters to approve a plan to have the city’s Salary Review Commission set the mayor’s pay. The commission currently determines compensation for City Council members and Municipal Court judges.
Local voters have been in a generous mood lately. Last fall, they approved ballot measures for Spokane city streets and parks, and in 2012 said “yes” to an expanded Spokane Convention Center. School and fire district levies fared well in February elections.
The relatively monolithic Spokane County Commission showed signs of dissent Tuesday, as commissioners argued about their stance on a proposed sales tax increase to fund changes to the area’s transit system.