Registered voters in the East Valley School District will have one more box to check on their April 28 mail-in ballots: whether or not to approve a levy request to fund new school buses.
EV’s levy vote – which would raise $1.5 million over two years or 55 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value – joins Spokane County’s sales tax renewal request for juvenile detention facilities and jails plus Spokane Transit Authority’s proposal for a .3-percent sales tax increase for expanded services.
In a letter to constituents, Tom Gresch, EV interim superintendent, said the transportation vehicle fund levy would only be used to buy school buses “to continue our tradition of safely transporting students to and from school.”
East Valley voters haven’t been asked to fund transportation since 1993.
The funds would be used to replace 25 older buses from the district’s 50-bus fleet. Gresch added that the levy would cut maintenance, operations and fuel costs by about $212,000 over the next two decades.
Meanwhile, Spokane County’s juvenile justice tax would replace the existing one tenth of 1-percent sales and use tax for juvenile justice and jails. The tax was first OK’d by voters in 1995 and has been renewed in 1998, 2003 and 2008.
If renewed the tax would resume in 2016 and continue through 2025. Voters have approved all three renewal requests by over 63 percent each time.
The funds will be used solely for operating, maintaining, repairing and equipping juvenile detention facilities, the county jail and Geiger Corrections.
Finally, STA is seeking a .3-percent increase in sales tax for an expansion in services that is designed to meet the region’s growth over the next decades. Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake services would also be improved under the plan.
The ballot language includes a 10-year sunset clause, and the tax increase is equal to 3 cents on a $10 purchase. The sales tax dedicated to STA would go up from six-tenths of 1 percent to nine-tenths of 1 percent.
Ballots were mailed from the Spokane County Election’s Office this week.