Ballot measures to financially support fire districts, school districts and law enforcement in Clark County are up for a vote in the August primary election.
North Clark County voters have six tax measures to vote on in the next election alongside the numerous elected seats up for a vote in the primary. All of the ballot measures involve taxes, with some new and some replacements to expiring levies under consideration.
Public safety sales tax
The only countywide ballot measure is a .1% retail sales tax for public safety. The sales tax is intended primarily to fund a body-worn camera program for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, which although approved in 2021 has not secured a funding source for its implementation.
The county tried once to pass a similar sales tax intended to fund the body camera program, but it failed in the November election with only about 42% approval. That measure would have directed the revenues to support jail and juvenile detention facilities in the county, which measure proponents said would have freed up other funds for the cameras.
If approved, August’s measure would divide revenues with 60% going to the county and 40% going to Clark County cities on a per capita basis.
La Center, Ridgefield seek replacement levies
Two north Clark County school districts have placed replacement levies on the ballot at the same rate of the current ones on the books.
In the La Center School District, the board approved a replacement educational programs and operations levy for the August ballot. The projected levy rate would be $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value on properties, the same as the current rate that is set to expire.
La Center previously tried to pass the levy in February, though it only received about 47% in approval.
The Ridgefield School District is also trying to pass a replacement levy in the primary. The district’s ballot measure is also estimated to be $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is the same rate as the current levy set to expire at the end of the year.
Though this is the first time Ridgefield has run its levy replacement in 2022, prior ballot measures this year have not been successful. In both February and April the district ran a $62.6 million construction bond intended to fund the construction of a new elementary school and expansions at Ridgefield High School. Both times the measure failed to pass the required 60% supermajority. The bond came close to an approval in April but failed by 73 votes.
Both levies require a simple majority approval of more than 50% to pass.
Fire departments seek EMS levies, ‘lid lift’
Three fire departments covering north Clark County have placed tax measures on the ballot in August.
Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue is seeking a new emergency medical services levy. If approved, the levy would be no more than 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The six-year levy would require a 60% supermajority in order to pass.
Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue’s jurisdiction covers much of northwest Clark County and Woodland in Cowlitz County, including La Center and Ridgefield.
Clark County Fire District 6, which covers the area to the south of Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue, is also seeking an emergency medical services levy, though it would be a replacement for its current levy set to expire at the end of the year.
If approved, Fire District 6’s levy would be for 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Because the levy is a renewal, it will only require a simple majority of more than 50% to pass.
To the east of those departments, Clark County Fire District 10 is seeking a levy lid lift in August. Currently the district, which covers 85 square miles around Amboy, has a levy of about 81 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. If approved, the lid lift would increase its levy to an estimated $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Ballots for the August primary will be mailed out on July 15. The deadline to submit ballots is 8 p.m. on Aug. 2.
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