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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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All but one Kootenai County tax proposal fails to reach super-majority approval

By Emma Epperly The Spokesman-Review

Multiple tax proposals on the ballot Tuesday in Kootenai County won wide support, but not enough to surpass the supermajority requirement needed for approval.

All the tax proposals on the Kootenai County ballot, including school district and fire district levies and bonds received majority backing, but none reached the two-thirds supermajority approval necessary to pass.

However, the Kootenai Joint School District received the simple majority needed to pass its levy.

Kellogg Joint School District

The Kellogg Joint Schools District bond, which would have paid for additions to Pinehurst Elementary and Kellogg Middle School, barely failed with 668 in favor and 384 against – including the Shoshone County votes. A two-thirds majority or 66.6% vote is needed to pass a bond.

The bond would have funded a variety of maintenance and upgrades like bleachers for the gym and replacing parts of the roof at Kellogg High School. At Canyon Elementary School, installing fire alarms, exterior windows, doors and egress windows, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls in all classrooms, were among the projects included in the proposed bond.

Kootenai Joint School District

The Kootenai Joint School School District supplemental replacement levy passed with 72% of the vote, including ballots from Benewah County. The levy will raise $750,000 annually for the next two years, and will support curriculum updates, extracurricular programs, technology infrastructure, a school resource officer and playground improvements, among other things.

Northern Lakes Fire Protection District

The Northern Lakes Fire Protection District Levy Override to staff a new station barely failed with 65.91% in favor, just short of the necessary 66.6%. The district revised its previous plan to raise $1.2 million for this new concept that minimally staffed the new fire station on Hudlow Road. The district needed $850,000 to staff the new station with six firefighters.

Fire Chief Pat Riley said the new station is “vitally important” but has taken this vote as direction from the public saying “they’ve spoken and we’ve heard it.”

The need for the new station relates to concurrent calls, the number of on-duty paramedics, and would have helped stop the rise in homeowner insurance premiums that Riley said should stay the same if the new station were to open.

Riley will meet with the board of fire commissioners Thursday to figure out their next steps. The district has money appropriated for remodeling the potential new station but with the failure of the levy, the station will not be opening anytime soon.

Timberlake Fire District

The Timberlake Fire District asked for its first levy override in 20 years. It was rejected with 58.6% in favor. The levy override would have generated $290,000 which equates to $30 annually per $100,000 of assessed taxable property value. The levy would have provided two full-time firefighters and maintained seasonal firefighters positions, among other things.

Bayview Water and Sewer District Bond

The Bayview Water and Sewer District Bond failed with only 28% in favor. The bond would have authorized the district to borrow $2.65 million to address significant system leaks, inadequate fire flow and water pressure, and old infrastructure.

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