Woodland pool measure, sales tax hike appear headed for defeat

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer

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Residents in Woodland appeared to vote down numerous measures to increase taxes to fund various services within the city.

First up, they came out against a measure to let the Woodland Swimming Pool and Recreation District use nearly $8 million in bond money to build a swimming pool and recreation facility.

The measure required a supermajority to pass, meaning it needed 60 percent approval and a 40 percent turnout of voters who voted in the last general election to pass. As of Tuesday’s results, 55 percent of voters came out against the measure, which would’ve allowed the district to issue $7,990,000 of general obligation bonds with a maximum term of 20 years. Benno Dobbe, president of the committee, was disappointed, but remains optimistic about the project.

“I can see a number of reasons why they might’ve voted against it,” he said. “We’d like to make sure we are going to address their concerns. We’d like to reach out to the community.”

Sales tax

For a second straight year, Woodland residents voted against a 0.2 percent sales tax increase in the city as part of Woodland’s transportation benefit district.

This year, the measure is sitting at 53 percent against. Last year, 51 percent of voters came out against the sales tax increase.

State law allows a city or county government to set up a transportation benefit district, which can raise money to fund local transportation projects by either charging an extra vehicle registration fee or sales tax.

Levy lid lift

The closest measure to passing in Woodland is a levy lid lift to fund law enforcement. The lift would allow the city to increase the regular levy in an amount greater than the 1 percent levy lid.

As of Tuesday night, the measure sat at 50.8 percent against and 49.2 percent for. There are 427 “no” votes compared to 413 “yes” votes combined between Clark and Cowlitz counties. The measure needs a simple majority to pass.

The proposition would authorize a 2018 regular property tax rate increase of about 78 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, for an estimated levy rate of $2.84 per $1,000 assessed value. The money will allow the city to fund two additional officers, a sergeant and equipment.

Washougal levy

Washougal residents voted in favor of raising money for emergency services, but the measure still might not pass. The levy requires a 60 percent supermajority and a 40 percent turnout of voters voting in the last general election.

The levy had to receive a minimum of 1,770 “yes” votes to pass, Cathie Garber, county elections supervisor, wrote in an email before the election. As of Tuesday’s results, the levy was at 66.9 percent in favor with 1,356 “yes” votes.

The replacement emergency services levy would impose regular property tax levies of 50 cents or less per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2018-2023.

Levy funds can only be used for providing emergency medical services, and provides funding for dual-function paramedic/firefighters and local ambulance transport service, and will allow for a paramedic ambulance to remain stationed in Washougal.