Measures passing for Quilcene schools, Clallam Bay fire

Next ballot count expected by 4 p.m. Thursday

PORT ANGELES — Two levy increases put before voters in Quilcene and Clallam Bay in a special election appear to be heading for passage, although ballots remain to be counted in the Quilcene vote.

Voters in Clallam County Fire Protection District 5 approved the first levy increase for the district in more than 30 years on Tuesday with 60.3 percent (96 votes) voting in favor and 39.6 percent (63 votes) against.

“That is going to pay for some training, pay for upgrades to a new tender, new equipment and some upgrades to the building,” said Heather Quinones, fire chief for the district. “We were hopeful it would pass.”

The levy established a regular property tax at $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value to be assessed in 2024 and collected in 2025.

The district went decades without a levy increase because revenue from state timber sales had been higher in the past, Quinones said, but those funds have declined.

“Timber money isn’t what it used to be,” she said.

Quilcene voters appear on track to approve a replacement levy for the school district with 59.9 percent (420 votes) of ballots cast in favor and 40 percent (281 votes) against. According to the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office, an estimated 162 ballots remain to be counted, enough to change the outcome of the election.

“People are extremely happy from the school district side,” said Ron Moag, interim superintendent for the district. “We are so grateful for our community coming out and supporting this measure. A lot of work went in it as well as our district really got multiple ways to get the word out about what this (educational programs and operations levy) provides for our district.”

The proposed levy would raise about $3.8 million through 2028. It would include $904,537 in 2025 and increase incrementally to more than $1 million in the final year of collection.

The Quilcene vote is the second attempt at a replacement levy after residents rejected the initiative in a special election in February by 25 votes.

After it failed, the Quilcene School District Board voted to place the same initiative language on the next special election ballot after hearing from community residents who claimed not to have fully understood the impacts of the measure.

A Yes committee was formed by community members to support the levy on the second vote, and Moag said the committee made a coordinated effort to educate the public.

Remaining ballots will be counted by 4 p.m. Thursday.

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsulanews.us.

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