MARYSVILLE – About 450 more votes were counted Wednesday, and Marysville voters were still approving a slight sales tax increase to fund a new police station and jail.
“It’s a nail biter,” Police Chief Rick Smith said after early returns Tuesday night.
After the first count of ballots, the measure was leading 3,897-3,399, or 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent. After the second day, the numbers were 4,130 to 3,618.
The measure needs 50 percent approval to pass.
“I’m encouraged by the early returns,” Mayor Jon Nehring said. “I’m pleased as of now that a majority of voters are approving the needed infrastructure to support the police.”
About 47,000 ballots remain to be counted in coming days. The election will be certified Aug. 21. Turnout so far in Snohomish County is 25 percent, with 111,736 ballots counted out of 454,267 registered voters.
Smith said he talked with Nehring and Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima, and they all are “cautiously optimistic.”
“I won’t be satisfied until all the votes are counted,” Smith said.
The tax increase hikes the rate within the city limits to 9.2 percent, still lower than other Snohomish County municipalities. The increase is 10 cents on every $100 spent in the city. It does not include groceries, prescription drugs or automobile purchases.
The tax will go to pay for a new $23 million police station and jail. The old station and jail were built in 1986 and are overcrowded with officers and inmates.
During that time, the number of officers has gone from 24 to 100.
Last year, 2,705 people were booked into the jail. Running a jail means the city can arrest people for misdemeanor crimes, something other cities can’t do. The city has a reputation for being tough on criminals as a result, which has led to a decrease in the overall crime rate here.
Eventually the city plans to sell its buildings and properties and build a new civic campus for $20 million that will house most city departments.
The tax will be paid by residents and visitors alike. It’s not just for property owners.
Local fire districts
Meanwhile, in Fire District 21, the measure gained ground Wednesday.
The measure was leading761-709, or 52 percent to 48 percent.
Like the Marysville measure, it only takes a simple majority to pass.
Officials are trying to pass a levy increase for the first time since 1960. The rate would go from 50 cents to $1.30 per $1,000 valuation. The owner of a $350,000 home would pay $280 more per year, for a total of $455 a year.
The money would be used to build a new fire station in McElroy to cut response times in as much as half. It also would remodel Arlington Heights Station 49 so that both would contain living quarters with round-the-clock staffing.
Calls in the area have increased 35 percent in the past five years.
For Fire District 19 in Silvana, voters were approving raising the EMS levy from 43 to the maximum 50 cents per $1,000 valuation. The vote was 393 in favor, or 60 percent, to 258 against, or 40 percent.
Due to growth, call volumes are up 30 percent since 2011. On a $300,000 home, the increase would be $1.75 per month.
Federal, state and SnoCo races
In the federal, state and county races, the top two move on to the November general election.
Three Republicans were having issues in the 39th District. Elizabeth Scott looks like she might be out as senator. And Robert Sutherland may be moving on but he’s behind his Democrat opponent Ivan Lewis. Carolyn Eslick is leading Eric Halvorson but not by much.
Another from the GOP is struggling in the 44th District as Mark Harmsworth trails Jared Mead.
Rep. Mike Sells in the 38th district and prosecutor Adam Cornell were unopposed.
The leaders Wednesday night were:
Maria Cantwell D – 55 percent
Susan Hutchison R – 24 percent
U.S. Rep. 1
Suzan DelBene D – 60 percent
Jeffrey Beeler R – 25 percent
U.S. Rep. 2
Rick Larsen D – 66 percent
Collin Richard Carlson D – 9 percent
State Senator 38
John McCoy D – 40 percent
Bruce Overstreet D – 30 percent
State Rep. 38 (1)
June Robinson D – 69 percent
Bert Johnson I – 31 percent
State Sen. 39
Claus Joens D – 40 percent
Keith Wagoner R – 29 percent
State Rep. 39 (1)
Ivan Lewis D – 48 percent
Robert Sutherland R – 39 percent
State Rep. 39 (2)
Carolyn Eslick R – 53 percent
Eric Halvorson D – 47 percent
State Sen. 44
Steve Hobbs D – 57 percent
Doug Roulstone R – 40 percent
State Rep. 44 (1)
John Lovick D – 59 percent
Jeff Sax R – 41 percent
State Rep. 44 (2)
Jared Mead D – 55 percent
Mark Harmsworth R – 45 percent
SnoCo PUD 1 (1)
Sid Logan – 31 percent
Mary Rollins – 31 percent
SnoCo PUD 1 (2)
Rebecca Wolfe – 30 percent
Kathy Vaughn – 29 percent