Clallam County voters approving all propositions

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County voters supported Forks Community Hospital and Crescent and Cape Flattery public school districts in Tuesday’s special election.

Four measures — two for the Crescent district — on Tuesday’s special election ballot were passing in the first count of ballots Tuesday night. All measures require a simple majority (50 percent plus one) to pass.

In Clallam County, voter turnout as of 8 p.m. Tuesday was 24.55 percent, with 1,736 ballots counted out of 7,070 provided to registered voters. The next count will be by 4:30 p.m. today.

• Forks Community Hospital — The levy lid lift for Forks Community Hospital (Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 1) won 591 votes, or 55.86 percent, in favor and 467 votes, or 44.14 percent, opposed.

The levy represents a significant part of the hospital’s annual operating budget of more than $40 million, CFO Paul Babcock has said. It helps support the OB-GYN program and assists in paying for charity care. Last year the hospital provided almost $900,000 in assistance for patients who were unable to pay for all or some of their care.

The levy lid lift would restore the property tax rate to 75 cents per $1,000 assessed value, the maximum allowed under state law. The levy rate has declined from 75 cents in 2006 — the last time the hospital asked voters for a levy increase — to the current rate of 42.8 cents.

The hospital will collect an additional $320,000 a year — almost double the $350,000 it currently collects.

• Crescent Schools — Joyce voters have approved two measures for the Crescent School District: a $3.45 million replacement education programs and operations levy and a $500,000 replacement capital projects levy.

“We want to thank the community for their support of our students and of our staff,” said Superintendent David Bingham on Wednesday.

“These levies are important to our district in terms of programs we offer and the work we have done and need to do on facilities,” he added.

The capital projects levy had 459 votes, or 68.2 percent, in favor and 214 votes, or 31.8 percent, opposed.

It will collect $125,000 a year (the same amount as the expiring levy) over four years at an estimated rate starting at $0.188 per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2025; $0.182 in 2026; $0.177 in 2027 and $0.172 in 2028.

“I’ve identified over a million dollars worth of projects we need to do,” Bingham said.

These include drainage projects, repaving and upgrading the playground area, the shop roof, replacement of some plumbing and, looking ahead, HVAC units that are nearing the end of life.

With grants and timber revenues, “I think we will be able to do close to a million dollars worth of projects with the capital project money” over the next five years, Bingham said.

The top priority on the list is the shop roof, he said.

“We also applied for a grant. We won’t know if we got it for another four weeks or so,” he added. “If we got the grant, we’ll be able to move farther down that list.”

The EP&O levy won 449 votes, or 66.72 percent, in favor and 224 votes, or 33.28 percent, opposed. It will collect $690,000 a year for four years from 2025 to 2028. The estimated levy rates are $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2025; $1.03 in 2026; $1 in 2027 and 97 cents in 2028.

“These levy funds are about maintaining things we are currently offering,” Bingham said.

Among those are students activities and athletics and contracted teacher professional development days. The money also helps to support career and technical education and music as well as IT and computer work stations for students.

The district provides each of its 360 students with a Chromebook.

• Cape Flattery schools — The Cape Flattery School District’s four-year, $1.8 million education programs and operations replacement levy won 139 votes, or 60.96 percent, in favor and 89 votes, or 39.04 percent, opposed.

“The district is very pleased with the continued support that our communities demonstrate toward the education of our students,” said Superintendent Michelle Parkin, whose district encompasses campuses in Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation and in Clallam Bay just outside it.

The EP&O levy will cost taxpayers $1.84 per $1,000 in assessed property value over the next four years when the current levy expires in 2024. It will collect $439,860 in 2024 for 2025; $453,055 in 2025 for 2026; $466,647 in 2026 for 2027; and $480,646 in 2027 for 2028.

Monies from Cape Flattery’s EP&O levy bridge the gap between state funding and what it costs the district to operate. Among those costs are paraeducator, counselor and school nurse salaries, as well as supplies and materials, technology upgrades and extracurricular activities like athletics.

Levy funds are earmarked for Clallam Bay School and its 100 K-12 students because the revenue is collected in that community.

The Cape Flattery School Board approved an increase in the value of the levy, but it is lower than the maximum of $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed value districts that are allowed under state law.

“The amount that was requested to be supported through this election guarantees that we will have continued support through the state Levy Equalization funding sources,” Parkin said.

Levy Equalization Assistance (LEA) provides supplemental funds from the state to help areas with lower-than-state-average property values. Since 1989, the state Legislature has provided funding assistance to property-poor school districts. Districts must pass their own levies to qualify for LEA funds.

“The purpose is that we don’t have to overtax to keep the doors open,” Parkin said.

At one time, Crescent qualified for LEA funds, but that dropped off within the last few years because of rising property valuations, Bingham said.

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