Carnation puts police levy on November ballot

CARNATION -The City of Carnation scrambled last week to

approve Resolution 236, which would re-run a $102,000 police levy on the

November ballot.

Councilmembers Don Raybuck, Bob Patterson and Stuart Lisk met

last Friday just minutes before the 4:45 p.m. deadline and unanimously

approved the resolution.

During the primary election last week, voters essentially rejected

the levy through a poor turnout at the polls. In order for the measure to

have passed, it needed a super majority (60 percent) and at least 40 percent of

eligible voters to validate it.

As of last Friday, 59 percent of the voters supported the levy,

however, only 22 percent of registered voters made their way to the polls.

The county is expected to release the final results tomorrow afternoon.

"From the optimistic side, I'm hopeful that the levy [might still

pass], because the county said there's still about 7,000 absentee ballots

throughout the county that are yet to be tallied," said City Administrator

Woody Edvalson early last week. "Those that have been around a little longer

are thinking that will probably not happen."

Edvalson and Mayor David Hunter both agree that low voter

turnout was what doomed the levy and they hope that more people will

show interest in the November election.

"No one saw big issues to vote on," Edvalson said. "So those that

would normally support the levy at the poll did not go.

"Only those who wanted to make a point to oppose it would make

the effort," he added.

According to the King County Elections, 127 people voted for

the police levy and 88 said "no." The total number of voters, however, fell

way short of the nearly 400 voters that were needed to validate the measure.

"It was a matter of people not getting out to the polls," Hunter

said. "There probably won't be any problem to get voters out in November."

He said measures like Initiative 695, which proposes to cut the

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax to $30, will certainly be a draw for local residents.

City officials will also be waiting to see if I-695 passes, because if

it does, the city would lose about $197,000 over a five-year

period. Since the city's funds are already tight, officials said if the police levy

doesn't pass, there will be some major changes in the police department.

"The council equated the levy amount to the services of one

dedicated police officer. That would reduce the amount of direct coverage the

city has," Edvalson said. "And we don't think that the community wants that."

Currently, Carnation contracts with the King County Sheriff's

Office for police services which include three deputies and a half-time chief.

Last year, Carnation residents approved a $95,000 police levy

which cost homeowners approximately $1.13 per $1,000 of assessed

valuation to maintain the level of police services. This new levy is expected to

cost 95 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $190 a year for a

$200,000 home.

"It's important for people to understand that this levy amount is

less than we had before and it replaces the current levy," Hunter said.

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