Snoqualmie hospital levy fails, board to figure out next steps

Snoqualmie Valley Health’s property tax ballot measure was overwhelmingly rejected by voters

Voters have overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that seeks to raise property taxes in support of the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District.

That outcome was clear from the get-go, after initial election results released on April 25 showed just 31% of the nearly 7,000 ballots tallied so far had voted for approval.

In the days since, elections officials have counted about 3,500 additional ballots, bumping the approval vote by 2 percentage points, as of April 28. That is still well below the majority-threshold required for approval.

As of April 28, 33.5% of registered district voters had submitted a ballot, on par with what officials predicted for the off-year special election.

The Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District stretches from Snoqualmie Pass to the southern Duvall city limit, including the majority of the Snoqualmie Valley and a section outside Issaquah. It includes over 31,000 registered voters.

Hospital officials acknowledged the measure’s shortcomings in a statement on Facebook on April 26.

“To say our team is disappointed is an understatement,” they wrote. “We are grateful for the votes we received, the friends we made, the partnerships we solidified and the ability to be able to listen to what matters most to our neighbors.”

Earlier this year, the hospital district’s board of directors voted 4-1 to put the property tax hike, a levy lid lift, on the April 25 special election ballot. The lid lift would have raised property taxes roughly 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The board members will hold discussions in June before deciding if they will pursue another ballot measure in 2023, said Sherry Jennings, a hospital spokesperson.

In an email to the Valley Record, Jennings said SVH is still financially healthy and on track with operational goals. She emphasized that while hospital staff are disappointed in the result, they are “not defeated.”

“We were able to get out into the community to educate residents and businesses about what Snoqualmie Valley Health is doing and the importance of community health care,” she said. “We see this as a win.”

The levy lid lift would have helped fund strategic investments, substantial growth and other programs the hospital would have otherwise been unable to afford, Jennings said. The hospital’s top priority remains replacing its CT scanner. Funding its replacement will delay other capital projects and adding or expanding services this year, Jennings said.