This Tuesday’s special election is a bit of a quiet one for Spokane Valley directly, but area residents may want to send those ballots back – and soon.
Everyone in Spokane County is being asked to weigh in on the Spokane Public Facilities District’s Measure 1, which would expand the downtown Convention Center, enhance the Centennial Trail in that same area and also add seating to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Total cost is estimated at $65 million.
Proponents are saying a yes vote – which would extend the existing sales-and-use tax and hotel/motel tax from 2033 to 2042 – benefits areas beyond the city of Spokane as overflow hotel guests will stay in the cities of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, for example, and spend money at local restaurants and other businesses.
Also, there is no increase in property taxes or sales taxes to Spokane County residents. Instead, everyone will continue to pay the existing one-tenth of a cent sales tax – approved by voters in 1992 – while hotel guests pay and 2-percent room tax.
That money goes to the PFD, which operates the convention center, arena and the INB Performing Arts center.
While Measure 1 will go before all county voters, the Rockford Fire Department in southeast Spokane County is asking its constituents to support a replacement levy that provides roughly 40-percent of the all-volunteer service’s budget.
Voters supported the levy last November, but it only garnered 56.71 percent at the polls. A 60-percent supermajority is needed for passage.
Property owners in the department’s service area would continue to pay 51 centers per $1,000 in assessed value. That would allow the department to collect $12,500 in 2013.
The Spokane County Elections Office mailed over 260,000 ballots on March 28-29. If returning by mail, ballots must be postmarked Tuesday, April 17, to be counted.
Voters may also drop off ballots at all city and county libraries; the STA Plaza, 701 W. Riverside; and the elections office, 1033 W. Gardner. Drop boxes will be locked promptly at 8 p.m. on Election Day.
For more information or if you did not receive a ballot, call 477-2320 or visit www.spokanecounty.org/elections.