Voters greenlight school levies in special election

Voters greenlight school levies in special election

Measures in Central Kitsap and Bremerton are expected to raise about $25.7 million in annual revenue for local schools.

BREMERTON – Voters in central Kitsap County all but approved two school levies during a special election this week, with about 1,000 out of approximately 26,000 submitted ballots left to count Wednesday morning.

Roughly 29 percent of registered voters turned out to vote or mailed in ballots in the Tuesday special election, a figure that may have been affected by record snowfall in the days leading up to the vote. Nevertheless with the help of widespread vote-by-mail participation, all four propositions – for school levies in Bremerton, Central Kitsap, Bainbridge Island, and an EMS levy for the Bainbridge Fire Department – appeared to pass with 97 percent of precincts reporting according to the county auditor’s office.

The Bremerton School District’s Proposition 1 – a capital projects levy – would see a tax rate of $1.65 per $1,000 of assessed property value beginning in 2020. It will replace a number of expiring levies and won’t change the current schools tax rate paid by Bremerton residents, according to figures provided by the school district.

As of Wednesday the levy appeared all but approved, securing 56.4 percent of the vote and holding an 833-vote lead.

The tax is anticipated to generate roughly $7.7 million in revenue for the “repair and improvement of existing facilities” and safety and security improvements at Bremerton schools, according to a proposition summary.

Central Kitsap voters also supported a schools tax proposal. As of Wednesday, Proposition 1, a School Support Levy, led by 1,324 votes, giving the measure an insurmountable lead.

The levy will see $1.50 per $1,000 of property value taxed beginning in 2020, replacing an expiring school support levy that taxed at a higher rate, supporters said. The tax will raise an estimated $18 million per year through 2022 for Central Kitsap schools.

Funds will be used for “state approved enrichment activities, programs, and operations,” supporters of the measure said.

The proposition passed with 55.5 percent of the vote. Those who opposed the measure cited increasing property tax burdens.

“Most Kitsap residents received property tax increases in 2018 and more are anticipated within this same three year” period, Kevin Tisdel wrote in an argument against the measure.

Bainbridge Island residents also said ‘yes’ to schools this week, passing a capital projects levy with 60.9 percent of the vote after all votes were counted. There was no argument filed against the measure.

Islanders also supported a permanent EMS levy of about $0.40 per $1,000, approving the measure with a commanding 73.1 percent of the vote.

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