Ballots due today for special election on libraries, schools

The Sno-Isle Library District seeks to increase the levy rate to support operations at 23 locations.

EVERETT — Ballots are due for the April 24 special election.

They were sent to more than 385,000 voters earlier this month.

Those within the Sno-Isle Library District are deciding whether to increase the levy rate to support operations at 23 libraries in Snohomish and Island counties. The district covers most of Snohomish County, though it does not include the city of Everett and a few other areas.

If the measure wins more than 50 percent approval, taxes for the library district in 2019 would increase by 9 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, from 38 to 47 cents per $1,000. The library district has said if the measure fails, it expects to cut its budget by reducing staff and open hours, among other changes.

In Darrington, a school levy is on the line. It’s the district’s second attempt this year to pass a local tax measure meant to replace an expiring operations levy.

The proposal seeks $1.50 per $1,000 assessed property value. That would be down from $3.71 per $1,000 in this year’s local levy. Meanwhile, state taxes for schools increased this year and are expected to remain higher than they have been in the past. A required drop in local levy rates is meant to offset the state hike.

The local levy would generate about $520,600 per year for the next four years. The money would go toward expenses not covered by state dollars, including field trips, sports, music, art and language programs, and the lease of the Darrington Community Center as the schools’ gymnasium.

Also on this ballot, fire districts 26 and 28 are seeking voter approval to merge. District 26 in Gold Bar and District 28 in Index have been joined under a contract since March 2017.

The ballots are laid out differently than in past elections, according to the county auditor’s office. The county upgraded its vote counting system, and voters now must mark choices by filling in an oval rather than drawing a line.

Ballot drop boxes remain open until 8 p.m. No postage is needed to drop a ballot in one. The boxes are located: in the Bothell QFC parking lot; near the county courthouse in Everett; by the Everett Mall Sears; at McCollum Park; at Gateway Park in Gold Bar; near the city boat launch in Lake Stevens; near the city halls in Lynnwood and Marysville; and near the libraries in Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Monroe, Snohomish, Stanwood, Granite Falls and Arlington.

Mobile ballot drop-off spots also are expected to be set up at Everett and Edmonds community colleges.

Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by April 24.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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