Snohomish voters want to keep an extra sales tax for roads

Voters in the Sultan area, meanwhile, were rejecting a larger commission to oversee rural Fire District 5.

EVERETT — Snohomish voters on Tuesday were embracing a 10-year extension of a sales tax for fixing city roads.

Proposition 1, which would retain a 0.2% sales tax used to repair streets and build specific transportation improvements, was passing by a margin of 58.5% to 41.5% after the initial round of ballot counting.

The tax, approved by voters in 2011, adds a dime on a $50 taxable purchase. It has generated roughly $8.2 million from January 2012 through March.

Those dollars have covered the cost of filling potholes and doing street overlays. Some also were used to construct a roundabout at 15th Avenue and Avenue D.

The mayor and City Council backed keeping the tax in place, saying it has enabled the city to secure state and federal funds to carry out larger projects. Opponents said the tax is no longer needed because the city is in better financial shape and is expected to receive federal dollars for transportation that had not been available a decade ago.

Meanwhile, a measure to enlarge the Board of Commissioners overseeing Snohomish County Fire Protection District 5 was failing Tuesday.

Proposition 1, which would add two commissioner positions to create a five-person board, was losing 52.4% to 47.6%. The margin of difference stood at 54 votes.

The one-station district serves about 10,000 people in the Sultan and Startup communities. Its coverage area spans 72 square miles of primarily rural area in east Snohomish County. The department employs a fire chief, two deputy chiefs, five full-time firefighters, and 20 to 30 part-time and volunteer firefighters, according to its website.

Supporters said a larger board would get more taxpayers involved in the oversight of and decision-making for the district. Opponents contended expansion would bring new costs and said the money that would go to commissioners stipends could be better spent on services.

The next update of election results will be posted Wednesday afternoon.

Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell reported 14,000 ballots left to count as of Tuesday evening. That total will change with the addition of ballots collected from drop boxes Tuesday and received in the mail Wednesday.

Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com; @dospueblos

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