Voters pass Mid-Valley Hospital bond, Methow Valley schools levies

— Voters said yes Tuesday to a Mid-Valley Hospital bond issue and two levies proposed by the Methow Valley School District.

Okanogan County Hospital District No. 3, which operates Mid-Valley Hospital and Mid-Valley Medical Group clinic, asked for $3.8 million in general obligation bonds to make infrastructure improvements to the aging hospital building, 810 Jasmine St.

Voters turned down an identical request last November, but on Tuesday said yes. In unofficial election night returns, 1,523 voters said yes, or 64.21 percent, and 849 said no, or 35.79 percent.

Another count is planned Friday. As of the election night count, 5,359 ballots were outstanding in the district. The measure needs a yes vote of 60 percent or more to pass; it did meet the minimum number of votes needed to validate, the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office said.

Its water and sewer systems are leaky and the roof needs attention. In addition, the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system also needs upgrading.

Hospital officials say the bond issue would cost the “average homeowner” $5 per month for the issue’s 15-year duration. The estimated levy rate is about 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $72 per year for the owner of property valued at $200,000.

Methow Valley School District voters said yes to two levy requests.

In the first, a six-year capital projects levy, 916 voters said yes and 766 said no, giving the measure a 54.46 percent yes vote.

The district is asking for $750,000 per year for collection in 2016-2021. The measure, if approved would cost an estimated 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2016 and lesser amounts in subsequent years, bottoming out at an estimated 52 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2021.

For the first year, that translates to $116 for the owner of property assessed at $200,000.

The district plans improvements at Methow Valley Elementary School, Liberty Bell Junior-Senior High School, the Independent Learning Center and bus barn, and improvements to grounds.

The second proposal is a two-year levy of $400,000 per year to replace six new school buses. It received 941 yes votes, or 55.91 percent, in unofficial returns and 742 no votes.

It would cost voters an estimated 31 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation the first year and 30 cents per $1,000 the second. In the first year, that translates to about $62 for the owner of property assessed at $200,000.

Both school measures needed a simple majority to pass.

As of election night, 1,852 votes were outstanding.

Certification is set for May 12.


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