Stanwood OKs bonds; Monroe rejecting levy

By BRIAN KELLY

Herald Writer

Stanwood will replace its falling-apart fire station. Voters were approving a $2.5 million bond measure to build a new one by a wide margin in early returns Tuesday night.

It was a mixed bag for tax levy extensions for fire and Emergency Medical Services in Getchell and Bryant. A levy in Bryant’s Fire District 18 was passing, while the Getchell measure was falling.

In the Monroe area, voters were rejecting for a second time a maintenance and operation levy to pay for park programs and the upkeep of Maltby Community Park.

Voters said yes by a wide margin to build a new fire station on 270th Street NW. The present fire hall, built in 1960, has a severe case of dry rot and termites.

The hall isn’t waterproof, either. Firefighters fill a back storeroom with five-gallon buckets to catch rainwater from a sieve-like roof every time it rains. And the hall is too small to hold all the fire department’s equipment.

"We’ve always gotten support from the public," said Tom Webb, president of the Association of Stanwood Volunteer Firefighters. "We owe a lot of gratitude to the taxpayers of the city. $2.5 million is a lot of money for them."

Revenues from the bonds will also be used to repair about 200 yards of 270th Street NW, from 88th Avenue NW to Florence Drive. New sidewalks, water lines and other improvements are planned.

The bonds will cost about 81 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation; the owner of a $150,000 home will pay $121.50 a year.

A second attempt to pass a levy in the East County Park and Recreation District near Monroe appeared to be failing.

It needs a 60 percent majority to pass.

Park district spokeswoman Susan Clayton said she was surprised at the negative numbers.

"I have no clue why the numbers are down," she said. "I am assuming that they will turn around. We will remain positive because it’s just too early to tell."

The same measure was on the September ballot, but failed to get a 60 percent majority by about 5 percent.

The levy calls for a 9 cent per $1,000 of assessed valuation tax to support the district’s Maltby Park and its year-round programming. That means the average homeowner with a house valued at $200,000 will pay about $18 a year to the district, which has the same boundaries as the Monroe School District.

The current levy expires this year. If the measure doesn’t pass in this election, it can’t be run for another year. Park district officials have said Maltby Park may be closed if the measure fails.

In Fire District 18, the Bryant area north of Arlington, voters were passing a levy for fire and emergency services. The measure needed a simple majority for approval.

Fire department officials hope to use the levy to improve staffing during the daytime.

District taxpayers already pay $1.49 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for a capital improvement bond measure and a levy that expires this year. The new levy would become permanent if approved.

The levy of $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed valuation will cost the owner of a $150,000 home $217.50 a year.

An EMS levy in Fire District 22, the Getchell area, was falling.

The levy is 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $75 a year for the owner of a $150,000 home.

Vote counts for ballot proposals in the Clinton Water District and the Penn Cover sewer and water districts were not immediately available late Tuesday night.

Clinton Water District officials are asking residents to approve a 10-year bond measure to raise $275,000 to replace a leaking 31-year-old wooden water reservoir. The district had planned to replace the tank next year, but they are worried the reservoir won’t last that long.

Penn Cove residents were facing a proposal to merge the water and sewer districts. Officials say merging the two districts on Whidbey Island will save money by reducing the costs for complying with federal and state regulations. Penn Cove has had two separate districts for more than 30 years; the districts have roughly 170 connections that serve approximately 450 people.

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