Election certified: Aberdeen street fix, Hoquiam fire truck coming

The Grays Harbor County Canvassing Board has certified the results from the February special election that saw approval of a sales tax increase in Aberdeen for public roads and a property tax increase for Hoquiam to allow the city to purchase a new ladder truck.

The county added just 550 new ballots from the first results that came in Election Day on Feb. 12. The certified results saw 4,235 ballots cast out of 11,936 sent for a turnout of 35.48 percent.

With 62.83 percent voter approval, Aberdeen residents increased the city’s sales tax by 0.13 percent with the hope of generating between $500,000 and $600,000 annually, tagged just for city roads. Specifically, 1,596 voters cast ballots in favor of the measure and 944 voters were against it. The measure needed just a simple majority for approval.

Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson said he recently received a phone call from Congressman Derek Kilmer, congratulating the city on the successful ballot measure.

“For once, a congressman has called me,” Simpson said.

The decision brings the city’s sales tax to 8.53 percent — the highest in Grays Harbor County. Other areas of the county will remain at 8.4 percent. Aberdeen Councilman Tim Alstrom noted Wednesday night that the sales tax won’t be collected until July, which likely means the first projects won’t be started until summer of 2014.

In Hoquiam, the vote was 73.64 percent in favor of the property tax hike for a new fire engine ladder truck. The measure needed 60 percent to pass. The election saw 1,246 residents cast votes in favor of the proposal and 446 voted against it. The proposal actually saw voter support dip a bit from election night, when 74.36 had been in support of it.

The City of Hoquiam’s property tax measure is for a 20-year general obligation bond valued at $1.2 million to pay for a ladder truck. The city has said the cost would be an increase of 19 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for Hoquiam property owners.