Most Spokane Valley voters won’t be participating in next Tuesday’s special election. Those that did receive a ballot, however, better get it postmarked by Feb. 12
Those living in the East Valley School District will have the biggest decision – monetarily, anyway – to make. Schools officials are asking for passage of a $65 million bond request that would be paid back over 25 years.
If approved – and East Valley voters haven’t exactly been generous, denying the previous four district requests – the money would be used to pay for a new performing arts center and athletic field improvements at the high school, along with building renovations at East Farms, Otis Orchards and Trentwood elementaries, plus the Continuous Curriculum School.
The high school would see a 1,500-seat performing arts center constructed, new turf and lights added to the football field, plus new locker rooms and a field house or wrestling room.
Gaining approval will require a 60-percent supermajority. If approved taxpayers would pay $1.31 per $1,000 in assessed valuation – $202.50 on a $150,000 home each year the bond sale was repaid.
While there hasn’t been much publicity about the bond vote, there have been a smattering of signs and mailers from a group calling itself the East Valley Citizens for Accountable Education have been critical of the election.
The last time East Valley attempted to pass a bond vote was in 2011, and a $35.4 million proposal gained only a dismal 39-percent approval. That was even worse than the 51-percent approval that was reached on a $34.5 million request in 2009, still failing to reach the needed 60-percent supermajority. A $33 million bond vote also failed twice in 2008 (although it did get 55-percent approval the first time around and 57 in a retry in May).
North of Spokane Valley, Orchard Prairie residents are being asked to approve a $105,000 “replacement” levy, keeping the same $1.35 per $1,000 in assessed valuation approved in 2011.
The money will be used to pay for field trips and to help fund a teacher’s assistant.
Meanwhile, in southern Spokane County, Rockford voters are being asked to pass a levy that would pay for law-enforcement services with the sheriff’s office. If passed, $33,000 would be raised via $1.43 per $1,000 in assessed value for one year.
If passed, money normally spent on law enforcement would be free to upgrade Rockford’s wastewater treatment plant and town water lines.
Finally, in the Newman Lake area, voters are being asked to pass a replacement emergency-services levy for Spokane County Fire District 13 to the tune of 50 cents per $1,000 in assessed value.
If passed, the levy – which is about a quarter of the department’s budget – would go into effect in 2014.
Ballot drop boxes are available at area libraries, the election office and at STA Plaza, 701 W. Riverside. Also, a voter service center will be open next Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the elections office, 1033 W. Gardener, the STA Plaza and at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place.
For more information, visit www.spokanecounty.org/elections or call 477-2320.