Voters approve tax hikes to help streets, fire department

MONTESANO — Voters in Aberdeen overwhelmingly approved a sales tax increase on Tuesday to help out ailing streets and voters in Hoquiam approved a property tax hike to benefit the fire department.

With 61.6 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, specifically tagged for roads. Specifically, 1,377 voters cast ballots in favor of the measure and 857 voters were against it. The measure needed just a simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote for approval.

The decision brings the city’s sales tax to 8.53 percent. — the highest in all of Grays Harbor County, which will remain at 8.4 percent.

In Hoquiam, voters sounded off in favor of a new ladder truck for the Hoquiam Fire Department, with 74.36 percent in favor of the property tax hike. The measure needed 60 percent to pass. As of election night, 1,079 residents cast votes in favor of the proposal and 372 voted against it.

Elections Administrator Julie Colacurcio said more ballots still need to be counted. The election tally doesn’t include ballots dropped off Tuesday at the Grays Harbor YMCA in Hoquiam or at the Auditor’s Office in Montesano or any other ballots that may come in by mail. But, given the trend of ballots, it’s unlikely there will be much change in the results.

The next ballot count is on Friday. The election is certified on Feb. 26.