MONTESANO — People living in the McCleary area will still get an ambulance when they call one, Ocosta School District will get a renovated grade school and Satsop School District voters approved a property tax levy during a special election Tuesday.
In initial vote counting, McCleary area voters in Fire District 12 were approving a property tax increase for ambulance service, with an approval rate of 85.47 percent.
Fire District 12 voters turned down several earlier attempts and without this approval there is a question as to what would happen if someone called 911 in a medical emergency.
The requested levy is for 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. That means a homeowner with a $100,000 home would pay $50 per year or $4.17 per month.
In the Ocosta School District, with voters in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, voters approved a $13.8 million bond issue to renovate the Ocosta Elementary School, including total reconstruction of what is known as the “round building.” District wide, the approval rate was 69.7 percent.
The Grays Harbor portion of the South Beach district approved the measure by a margin of 811 to 354, a 69.6 percent approval rate.
In Pacific County the vote was 192 to 81, for a 70.3 percent approval rate.
“We are just thrilled,” said Ocosta District Superintendent Paula Akerlund. “We are so grateful to the community for giving us this opportunity.”
Voters had rejected two previous proposals.
In addition to replacing the existing “round” elementary school building, the funds also will “modernize” the existing elementary school addition, said Akerlund. It will likely eliminate elementary “portables” that were intended to be temporary, but have been in place for more than 20 years. Both the portables and the round buildings have leak problems, with certain rooms closed off and molding and odor issues as a result; the buildings also have antiquated electrical and heating systems and no sprinkler systems.
This renovation will also bring much of the building up to greater ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. The building was built in 1967 and lacked accessibility for all individuals.
In the small Satsop School District, voters were approving a property tax measure geared to help shore up the district’s finances. Altogether, the measure received 92 votes or 73.02 percent. The levy is designed to raise $80,000 each year for 2014 and 2015. That works out to $2.02 per $1,000 in assessed value. That means the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $202 a year.
The stakes were highest in Fire District 12, where 347 people were approving the levy and only 59 people were rejecting it.
“We needed a 60 percent to get to there and with 85 percent it’s tremendous,” said Fire Commission Chairman Jerry Banks. “This is the fourth or fifth time we’ve tried this levy, but this time the citizen committee as well as the media put a lot of emphasis on putting the awareness out to the public and getting the awareness. They deserve a lot of credit.”
Banks said the levy is good for six years. After that, when they go back to the voters approval will only take 50 percent-plus one vote.
“I really want to thank the citizens of District 12,” Banks said. “They are giving all of us the comfort of emergency medical response and now we definitely will have a response. To all of the citizens, they are the ones that deserve the thanks”