Proponents of a new stadium in Elma are really hoping to boost voter turnout this year. Unlike the typical maintenance and operations levy which just needs simple majority approval, the new stadium will need to get at least a 60 percent super majority for approval.
The $8.4 million bond measure for a new stadium in Elma highlights a special election ballot that also asks voters to approve maintenance and operations levies in 13 Harbor school districts.
The bond measure asks voters in the Elma School District to approve the replacement of the aged Davis Field grandstands with a new stadium. The East County district also has an M&O levy on the ballot. Ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 11, or returned to the Grays Harbor Auditor’s Office or a ballot drop-off location by the same date.
County Elections officials say about 6,700 ballots of just more than 32,000 mailed out have been returned as of Tuesday afternoon. The Elma School District also needs a turnout of at least 829 voters for its bond measure to the vaildation threshold. More than 800 votes have already come in from Elma district voters.
It’s not yet clear how many ballots from each school district has been received. Voting results will be posted on Election Day, Feb. 11, some time after 8 p.m. The Vidette will carry a story on its website www.thevidette.com.
The 20-year, $8.4 million stadium measure is figured to cost taxpayers about 95 cents per $1,000 of assessed value if approved, meaning the taxes on that same $100,000 home will go up about $95 per year for two decades. While all the M&O levies need a simple majority to pass, the Elma bond measure requires a 60 percent super-majority.
The Elma School District also has a two-year M&O levy on the ballot for 2015-16. If approved, that levy would cost district taxpayers $3.69 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2015 and 2016. That translates to $369 per year for a home with an assessed value of $100,000.
The McCleary School District also has a two-year M&O levy on the ballot for its voters to decide upon. The levy amount is $685,000 each year and is estimated to cost district taxpayers $3.78 per thousand of assessed value in 2015 and $3.74 per thousand in 2016. That averages out to about $376 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
The Oakville School District has a two-year levy on the ballot seeking $376,400 each year with an approximate rate of $2.14 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The Mary M. Knight School District’s two-year levy proposition seeks $684,677 in 2015 and $692,381 in 2016. The respective rates are $4.15 in 2015 and $4.20 in 2016.
The Wishkah School District also has a two-year M&O levy on the ballot, seeking $411,984 for 2015 and $435,576 in 2016. The rates are $4.57 per thousand of assessed value in 2015 and $4.63 in 2016.
Other two-year M&O levies on ballot are for the school districts in Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cosmopolis, North Beach and Lake Quinault. The Ocosta district has a three-year levy on the ballot.
M&O levies help supplement district general funds — paying for things like building maintenance and operations costs, textbooks, teaching positions, after-school activities, technology, teaching materials, counseling, athletics, music and clubs, food services, class-size reduction and more. Unanticipated changes in enrollment, emergency repair needs or state and federal legislative action on school funding could change how levy funds are eventually spent.
Most districts decided on two-year levies, even though state law now allows for up to four-year levies. Montesano School District is not on the ballot because it is currently in the middle of a four-year levy.
Ballot drop-off locations open 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. on Election Day: (for Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cosmopolis) YMCA Grays Harbor, 2500 Simpson Ave, Hoquiam; (for Montesano) Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office, 100 W Broadway, Suite 2, Montesano. The other East County locations only open on Election Day is in McCleary at the McCleary VFW, 158 Summit Road.
The Daily World contributed to this story.