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Monday, December 9, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Valley library bond falls short

Spokane Valley voters again appear to have rejected a bond issue to build or refurbish libraries in their portion of the county. The $22 million proposal needed a 60 percent super-majority but was falling short of that mark in the election night tally, and supporters acknowledged they were unlikely to close the gap.

“We didn’t get it,” said Nancy Ledeboer, Spokane County Library District director. “The majority of people were supportive, and I’m sure they’re disappointed that there won’t be a new library.”

In other primary election results, Republican Mary Dye, who was appointed to an open legislative seat in southeastern Washington, will advance to the Nov. 3 general election but her opponent might not be known for several days. A maintenance and operations levy for Spokane County’s Fire District 8 was easily passing, and long-time Spokane School Board member Rocky Treppiedi topped challengers in his quest for a new term.

The Spokane Valley Library Capital Facilities Area had tried the bond last year when the special district was put before voters. They said yes to the special area, which allowed the library district to ask voters only within that area to approve the tax increase that would be needed to repay the bonds. But not enough said yes to the bond issue and the library district got one more try at that funding mechanism.

This time around, the bond issue was getting the needed super-majority in many precincts in the city of Spokane Valley, and above 50 percent in most others. But it was trailing badly in some of the rural precincts, and finished the night with only about 57 percent of the ballots approving the plan.

That designation was only good for two votes and the capital facilities area is now dissolved, Ledeboer said.

“That makes it a more complicated issue,” she said.

The library purchased the land for a new branch on Sprague Avenue from the city of Spokane Valley. The two agreed that the library district must break ground on a library at the site by 2017 or it must sell the land back to the city for the purchase price.

Ledeboer said the library’s board of directors will discuss whether to try the bond again when they have their retreat later this month. They did not previously discuss an alternative if the bond failed, she said.

South Spokane County voters were among those choosing among a three-person race to fill out the term of Republican Rep. Susan Fagan, who resigned her 9th District seat earlier this year amid questions about mileage claimed on her expense accounts. Adams, Asotin, Whitman, and Garfield counties are also in the district, as is part of Franklin County.

Dye, of Pomeroy, was chosen by county commissioners of the six counties this spring, and served during the Legislature’s overtime sessions. Democrat Ken Caylor, an Othello businessman who has served on that city’s council, led former Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim, another Republican, by fewer than 200 votes after all six counties reported results Tuesday night.

Dye, who farms with her husband, said she believes there are big contrasts between her and the other two candidates and is “just looking forward to moving ahead” as she campaigns across the large district. “The distances all seem to be about 120 miles from Pomeroy,” she said.

Voters in the Spokane County Fire District 8 gave the maintenance and operations levy a 65 percent yes vote to maintain its current level of staffing as well as add a paramedic at each station 24 hours a day. The district covers 110 square miles south of Spokane and Spokane Valley. Currently only the Moran Prairie and Ponderosa stations have paramedics 24 hours a day, Fire Chief Tony Nielsen said. The district will be hiring to fill the new positions at the other two stations, he said.

“We’re incredibly humbled and appreciative,” Nielsen said of the vote results.

In the primary for Spokane School Board, Treppiedi took 42 percent of the vote. He likely will face Jerrall Haynes, a staff sergeant at Fairchild Air Force Base, who had the second most votes with 30 percent.

Donald Dover, a former Washington State University administrator, was in third with 27 percent.

Staff writer Jim Camden can be reached at jimc@spokesman.com or (360) 664-2598. Nina Culver can be reached at ninac@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5473.

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