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Ballots heading out on Wednesday

MONTESANO — East County residents will see different measures and candidates on their ballots, which head to the mail this week.

On Wednesday, the county was slated to mail out 38,296 ballots, which Elections Supervisor Katy Moore says is higher than it has been in recent years.

Countywide, residents will see candidates vying for county office. However, just those who live in Commission District 3 will be able to vote on the contested county commissioner and PUD commissioner races. The commission district includes Cosmopolis, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores — but not Aberdeen, the South Beach or the East County area. The top two candidates will move on to the countywide ballot in November.

McCleary residents will see a couple of property tax measures on the ballot to benefit the local police force.The levy lid lift and a levy would maintain funds for police and prevent further cuts, but would not restore the recent layoffs of the Police Department. The levy would need a 60 percent voter approval to pass. The lid lift needs just a simple majority to pass.

And those who live west of the Satsop River will see the measure asking residents if they are “for” or “against” establishing a hospital district to benefit Grays Harbor Community Hospital. A “yes” vote could mean a property tax hike of 50 cents per thousand of a property’s assessed value. A simple majority vote is needed to approve it. At the same time, there are a number of hospital commissioners on the ballot that will become moot if the measure fails.

There are seven potential hospital commissioners. Of those, District 1 would represent the Montesano area. Running for that seat is Moraya Wilson, who is involved with the Montesano Chamber of Commerce and the Montesano PTO and works for KD&S in Montesano; and Maryann Welch, the retired county public health director who currently sits on Community Hospital’s board of directors.

There are also two at-large positions on the ballot with Aberdeen Police Chief Bob Torgerson running against Tim Howden, who recently retired as the chief financial officer of Community Hospital. Ryan Farrer is running unopposed for the other at-large seat. He has worked as a doctor on theHarbor for the past 10 years and is currently the hospital’s chief of staff.

Some residents who live north of Elma will see an emergency medical services levy to benefit Mason County Fire District 12, which crosses the county line. The measure asks for 45 cents per thousand dollars of a property’s assessed valuation for the next six years.

Up for county office includes Auditor Vern Spatz, Clerk Cheryl Brown, acting Coroner Lane Youmans, Sheriff Rick Scott and Treasurer Ron Strabbing — who will all move forward to the General Election unless they get squeezed out by the very unlikely possibility of two write-in candidates. Mike Spencer and Katie Svoboda, both running for the vacant prosecutor seat, will also move forward, barring a write-in upset.

The Assessor’s Office has three viable candidates — Loni Hooper, an Independent; incumbent Rick Hole, who prefers Neither Party; and Dan Lindgren, a Democrat. Only the top two candidates move forward to the General Election.

There are also candidates running for state representative for Legislative Districts 19 and 24 as well as for Congress.

Elsewhere in the county, Ocean Shores has a proposed levy to help fund its local library and there are emergency medical services levies on the South Beach.

The county will have drive-up drop-off spots open at the YMCA of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam and in front of the County Administration Building in Montesano. Ballots must be dropped off or postmarked by August 5.