Wednesday, July 15, 2020
July 15, 2020

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Yakima school capital project levy fails, but other school measure pass with certified results


YAKIMA — Voters officially approved five school operations levies in Yakima County, though a separate Yakima School District capital improvement levy has failed, according to final results.

The election was Feb. 11, and the results were certified Friday. A four-year capital improvements levy that would have funded building maintenance and technology contracts in the Yakima School District failed to meet the 50% plus one vote approval necessary to pass. It was close, with 49.7% approval.

The measure would have brought in between $3.17 million and $3.57 million each year, costing an estimated 54 cents per $1,000 assessed value, or $108 annually for a property valued at $200,000.

In a statement on its website, the district said the capital improvements levy was for much-needed facility maintenance.

“We respect the democratic process and although this revenue is needed, we will not be rerunning this levy measure again in this calendar year,” it said. “We will propose reductions and will work to better educate the community on the need for this revenue.”

Voters renewed operations levies for schools in the Yakima, Sunnyside, Naches Valley, Zillah and Mabton districts.

The Yakima levy will bring in roughly $30 million each year for four years between local dollars and state matching funds. Between $14.7 million and $16.5 million each year is from the local contribution.

Yakima voters also turned down a request by the city of Yakima to lift its levy lid. The effort garnered just 37 percent support. The proposed property tax increase would have raised an additional $3 million in 2021 to cover operating costs related to public safety, street repairs and facility maintenance.

In Naches, voters approved a Naches Park and Recreation District levy to fund operations, maintenance, equipment and activities at Applewood Park and the Naches Swimming Pool. The measure was the only special election item requiring a 60% approval to pass. It was voted in with nearly 70% approval.

The final election turnout was just under 32 percent.