La Center sports facility levy fails

Green Mountain voters OK money for portable building

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

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Special Election Results

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The La Center School District's capital projects levy appears to have failed, according to the unofficial returns Tuesday night.

The count was 886 "yes" to 1,103 "no."

More ballots are expected to be counted this week. Turnout in each district was slightly more than 37 percent of registered voters.

Meanwhile, the Green Mountain School District's four-year capital levy appears to have passed, 115 "yes" to 91 "no."

The La Center election was a second attempt for the school district. It had tried to pass a capital projects levy in February -- a first for the district -- but it failed by 30 votes.

La Center's capital fund levy would have generated $200,000 a year for six years. The district had earmarked the money for upgrading its sports fields, adding covered bleachers, lights and scoreboards.

The school district estimated the levy's tax rate would start at 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value before dropping to 27 cents by its final year.

"A little disappointing, in fact, a lot disappointing," La Center Superintendent Mark Mansell said Tuesday night. "We thought we had a plan that provided great value.

"It is what it is. We'll keep moving forward and figure out what to do next," he said.

About the outcome, Mansell said, "I am surprised. We had a lot more positive energy, a lot more people involved this time. It's baffling, I don't know what to do. We'll look at the data and see what it tells us."

The superintendent also thanked patrons for continued support of academics.

Green Mountain proposed a four-year capital levy for $70,000 a year. The district plans to set aside the money so it can place a portable classroom building on a half-acre parcel donated by a family whose property abuts district land.

The school district estimates the tax for the levy will be 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value.

Before the election, some residents said they were upset about the levy because of discrepancies between what the district would actually do with the levy money and what it said it would do on the published ballot. The ballot said the levy would be used, in part, to "acquire land."

Because owners of property next to the school promised to donate land to the district, very little of the levy money will go toward purchasing real estate, the district said.