Voters say yes to levies, no to recreation district, bond

— Voters are overwhelmingly turning down a proposition to create a Methow Valley Recreation District, according to Tuesday’s preliminary results for the special election.

Preliminary results show the measure failing 80 percent to about 20 percent, with 1,525 voters saying no and 380 in favor.

The recreation district was proposed to give Methow Valley residents more local control over recreation opportunities, from creating new projects to finding ways to help fund existing ones.

However, some residents balked at the idea of paying more property taxes, since the district could have drawn up to 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value as a junior taxing district.

A group of them approached Okanogan County commissioners last month asking for an alternative. So, the county is currently working on expanding its own Parks and Recreation District to provide more services.

Voters were also asked to select five at-large commissioners for the Methow Valley Recreation District to serve in case the proposition passed.

The frontrunners as of Tuesday were Don Fitzpatrick for Position 1, Christine Holm for Position 2, Steven Stacy for Position 3, Bart Bradshaw for Position 4 and Paula Stokes for Position 5.

In the Brewster and Pateros area, residents are passing a continuation levy for Douglas Okanogan County Fire District 15, an amount of 47 cents per $1,000 for six years.

In Brewster, 134 residents cast their ballots as of Tuesday, with 79 percent in favor and about 21 percent against. Forty-two Pateros voters are passing it 81 percent to 19 percent.

Residents living within Fire District 15 but not in the two cities – 506 people so far in both counties – are also passing the levy, 75-24 percent.

Bridgeport residents are declining the school district’s proposed $3.9 million bond for a second time, 53-47 percent.

The measure needs a supermajority of 60 percent to pass. A similar bond issue was rejected in February with more than 50 percent support, but not enough to pass.

The 20-year bond would cost property owners about $1.84 per $1,000. Along with matching funds from the state, the bond would pay for removal of temporary portable buildings added to the elementary school in the 1970s and rebuild that portion of the school with 16 classrooms, kitchen improvements, an updated playground and a computer lab, multi-purpose room and music room.

In Ferry County, 264 residents of EMS District 1 are passing a medical care and ambulance services levy, 83-17 percent.

The levy would cost 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value over a six-year period.

Republic voters are approving a city-led version of the same levy, 73-27 percent.

A three-year general fund levy of $18,325 for the Keller School District is also passing, about 73 percent to 27 percent. Ninety-six votes had been cast as of Tuesday.

If approved, the levy, estimated at $1 per $1,000, would be collected starting next year.

Okanogan County voter turnout was nearly 44 percent Tuesday, with 2,451 ballots counted and about 383 left to count. Douglas County reported more than 54 percent voter turnout, with 460 ballots counted and about 10 remaining.

Ferry County is seeing a nearly 49 percent turnout so far, with 1,112 ballots counted and an estimated 25 left.

Special election results will be certified May 6.

More details on the election results will be in the Sunday edition of The Chronicle.

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