By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
BOTHELL — Most people on the outskirts of Bothell don’t want to be annexed into the city.
Early returns from Tuesday’s election had about 55 percent of voters casting ballots against the proposed annexation of a large swath of unincorporated south Snohomish County. About 45 percent voted for the measure. The vote count Tuesday night was 3,134 against annexation and 2,609 for it.
This was the city’s second try at adding about 22,000 people and 5.6 square miles of unincorporated county land, an election that came just five months after the city’s failure in November to convince a majority of voters to approve annexation.
Those supporting the measure believed people wanted to join the city for lower taxes and better services the city has to offer.
Concerns about the original annexation revolved around the city’s plans for staffing at a fire station it planned to take over if annexation was approved.
The city committed to staff Station 22 in Hilltop, in the northwest corner of the annexation area rather than rely on paramedics to respond from Bothell’s downtown, about 14 minutes away.
Snohomish County Fire District 1 officials maintained that Bothell would provide subpar fire and emergency medical service around the station.
State law encourages cities to grow. Annexations have to address many issues, such as land-use, police, public works and street maintenance. In the proposed Bothell annexation, no one debated much of anything but the paramedics and the loss of tax money to Fire District 1.
In November, the annexation failed by 408 votes out of 7,126 cast. That left annexation opponents with 52.9 percent of the vote compared to 47.1 percent for supporters.
More than 33,000 people currently live in Bothell, which is divided between King and Snohomish counties.
School levies pass
Stanwood-Camano and Lakewood school districts got voter approval for replacement property tax levies, and in Lakewood for an additional two-year capital projects levy.
In Stanwood, the replacement levy, was passing with 61.3 percent approval or 5,100 yes votes to 3,218 no votes, provides nearly a quarter of all funding for the Stanwood-Camano School District.
The property taxes will help pay for additional teachers, teaching materials, facility repairs, transportation, food services, special programs for gifted students and struggling students, extra-curricular programs and activities.
The school district plans to collect about $11 million a year through 2016. The tax rate would be about $2.18 per $1,000 of assessed value. So the estimated annual tax for schools on a $300,000 home would be about $654.
In Lakewood, the four-year replacement school program and operations levy passed with 56.5 percent approval, with 1,362 yes votes to 1,051 no votes.
It will provide about 20 percent of the district’s total operating revenue, and pay for student programs, funding for some teachers and classroom assistants, bus transportation, security, athletics and curricular activities.
The school district plans to collect about $6.4 million a year during the four-year term at a rate of about $3.47 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The district’s two-year capital projects levy passed with nearly 53 percent approval, with 1,276 yes votes to 1,133 no votes.
It pays for major repairs to school buildings, maintains the district’s investment in computer technology and plans for future modernization of Lakewood High School. The capital projects levy would collect a total of about $7.3 million over the two years at a rate of about $2.01 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the owner of a house assessed at $265,000, the cost of the combined levies would be $1,452 in 2013.
The Snohomish County Auditor’s Office said the ballot totals would be updated at 5 p.m. Wednesday.