EVERETT —The ballot for Tuesday’s special election is small but the issues to be decided are not.
Voters are considering property levies to help fund schools in Darrington and libraries in Snohomish County, and a measure to allow the merger of two of the county’s rural fire districts.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Tuesday to be counted.
To save postage, voters can use one of the county’s 16 designated ballot drop boxes which are open until 8 p.m. Election Day. Mobile drop boxes will be available at sites in Darrington and Arlington on Monday then Everett and Edmonds on Tuesday.
Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel estimated a turnout of 30 percent countywide though it’s not easy to predict because the only item on most of those ballots deals with libraries. As of Friday morning, 69,827 ballots had been returned for a turnout of 18.1 percent.
“I hope people vote,” she said. “I still believe libraries are important. I believe every community needs one.”
Sno-Isle Library District is proposing a measure to generate additional dollars for operations at its 23 libraries in Snohomish and Island counties. The district does not include the city of Everett.
The measure would allow the library district to raise its levy rate from 38 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to 47 cents per $1,000, starting in 2019.
Sno-Isle officials say that if voters do not approve the increase, they expect to cut staff, reduce hours at libraries and decrease the number of new materials purchased. The cuts would total $2 million in 2019.
The library district last sought a tax rate increase in 2009 and voters approved it.
In the Darrington School District, voters also are reconsidering a four-year property tax levy to cover the cost of programs, services and staffing in the 400-student district that’s not paid for by the state.
Levy dollars would go toward music, art and language programs, athletics, field trips and the lease of the Darrington Community Center as the school’s gymnasium.
The proposed levy is less than half the tax rate the district requested in the Feb. 13 election, when the measure failed by 4 percentage points. It was the only school enrichment levy to fail in Snohomish County.
This measure asks for $1.50 per $1,000 assessed property value starting in 2019. The levy proposed in February would have been $3.48 per $1,000 in 2019.
Voters in and around Index are considering Proposition 1 which would allow the merging of Snohomish County Fire Protection District 28 into Fire District 26. The result would be one district providing fire and emergency medical services for Index, Gold Bar and the surrounding areas.
All three measures require a simple majority vote to pass.
In addition to the permanent drop boxes, the county elections office will bring boxes to four sites in the election’s final two days.
On Monday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., one box will be in the parking lot of the Darrington IGA, 1090 Seeman St. and the other will be in the parking lot of Tractor Supply, 17020 Smokey Point Blvd. in Arlington.
On Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., a box will be available at Edmonds Community College, in the courtyard near Lynnwood Hall, and at Everett Community College, in the parking lot near the Washington State University building on North Broadway.
Voters may also drop completed ballots at the county Auditor’s Office on Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The office is located at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett. For more information, call the elections office at 425-388-3444 or send an email to email@example.com.
Save a stamp
There are 16 designated boxes in Snohomish County in which voted ballots can be placed without a stamp. The deadline is Tuesday. Here are the locations of those drop boxes:
135 N Washington Ave. (near library)
22833 Bothell Everett Hwy. (QFC parking lot)
650 Main St. (near library)
Rockefeller Avenue and Wall Street. (Courthouse Campus)
600 128th St SE. (McCollum Park)
1402 SE Everett Mall Way (Everett Mall-near Sears)
5th and Orchard (Gateway Park)
815 E. Galena St. (near library)
1800 Main St. (near the city boat launch)
19100 44th Ave. (in front of City Hall)
1049 State Ave. (behind City Hall)
1070 Village Way. (near library)
23300 58th Ave. W. (near library)
4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd. (near library)
311 Maple Ave. (near library)
9701 271st St. NW. (near library)