Lake Stevens voters leaning toward approving library

STANWOOD — Voters in Stanwood and on Camano Island were well on their way to approving a $147.5 million bond for a new high school, according to initial results from Tuesday’s special election.

Voters in Lake Stevens also were leaning toward approval of two measures needed to build a new library.

Meanwhile, the Granite Falls School District was coming up just short of the 60 percent approval rate required to pass a bond to update the middle school, add a grandstand at the high school and improve security.

The Lake Stevens and Granite Falls measures both were below the voter turnout needed to approve bonds, as well, though more ballots remain to be counted in the coming days.

The Stanwood-Camano School District saw more than enough votes come in to meet the turnout requirement, which is at least 40 percent of the turnout from the most recent election. In Granite Falls, nearly 500 more ballots would need to be counted to meet that requirement. Lake Stevens needs more than 2,000 additional ballots to hit the 40 percent threshold, according to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office.

The first tally of results was released Tuesday night. More than 13,400 ballots had been counted, about 28 percent of the total ballots sent out. Updated results are expected to be released over the next few days, Snohomish County elections manager Garth Fell said. Results are expected to be certified Feb. 24.

Stanwood

The early results show 72 percent of Stanwood-Camano voters in favor of the bond for a new high school, which needs 60 percent to pass. It’s the second time the district has sought support to build the new school. In 2006, voters shot down a $110.7 million bond.

The plan is to build the school on the same property as the current one. Designs call for a 241,000-square-foot school that condenses classes into the same building, unlike the current campus where passing periods have been lengthened so students have time to hurry along outdoor walkways. The district also plans to put in a new building for Lincoln Hill High and other programs.

An initial timeline figures the school should be finished by 2020. The bond would be paid off in no more than 21 years, according to the ballot measure.

The bond is expected to cost taxpayers $1.23 per $1,000 assessed property value, or about $308 a year on a $250,000 home. That rate is expected to replace a district levy that is ending, so officials have said they do not anticipate an overall increase in school taxes for Stanwood and Camano Island households. Those taxes add up to about about $880 a year for a $250,000 home.

Lake Stevens

In Lake Stevens, plans for new library needed “yes” votes on two measures to move forward.

People living within the boundaries of the Lake Stevens School District were asked to create a new taxing area, following those same boundaries, to pay for the construction of a library. That request needs more than half the vote to pass.

Voters also were asked to approve $17 million in bonds, to be paid off over 20 years, for library construction. Bond measures require 60 percent approval.

After the first tally of ballots, 68 percent of voters were in favor of the taxing district and 65 percent in favor of the bond. However, if the overall turnout remains too low, the bond measure doesn’t pass.

“It was clear that voter-turnout bar was high,” Sno-Isle executive director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said in an email Tuesday night. “We’re inspired that the community wanted to move ahead with the effort.”

Sno-Isle has purchased land on Chapel Hill for the library. It would be eight times the size of the current building at North Cove. The city is working to tear down buildings at North Cove and reshape the city center, which helped prompt the library’s planned move. However, Sno-Isle, city officials and volunteers have talked about the need for a new, larger library for years.

If it passes, the bond is expected to cost taxpayers 24.5 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, or about $61 a year on a $250,000 home.

Granite Falls

A $13.7 million bond to update Granite Falls Middle School, add a grandstand at the high school and upgrade security across the district was trailing in Tuesday’s tally.

Nearly 59 percent of voters were in favor of the bond, 1 percentage point shy of the required approval rate.

The largest piece of the proposed bond, about $6.6. million, was planned for modernizing classrooms at the middle school for science, technology, engineering, art and math classes. Another $3.4 million would be for security upgrades and $3.7 million for the grandstand.

The bond would cost taxpayers about 13 cents per $1,000 value, or about $33 a year on a $250,000 home.

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

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