911 Dispatch Center

Supervisor Kristin Kingery uses one of three mouses to control her computer screens at the 911 Dispatch Center Tuesday afternoon inside the Lewis County Historical Courthouse.

A sales tax increase that would help fund replacements and upgrades for Thurston County’s primary emergency communication system, owned and operated by Thurston 911 Communications (TCOMM 911), was passing with wide support nearly a week after election day.

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 12, the ballot measure, known as Proposition 1, was passing overwhelmingly with 73.12 percent approval and 26.88 percent against. Early counts show that more than 50,000 voters approved the measure while about 18,500 voted against it.

“We’re very grateful to the voters of Thurston County for their support of public safety and emergency communications,” TCOMM Executive Director Keith Flewelling said.

Flewelling said after talking with the county auditor, he feels fairly confident from the election night counts that the ballot measure will pass.

If approved, TCOMM’s  Proposition 1 will increase the county sales and use tax by one-tenth of 1 percent, according to information from the agency. This adds up to an increase of 1 cent on a $10 taxable purchase.

TCOMM says it would take about three years to replace and upgrade the system with the estimated $4.45 million the proposition will bring in. The replacement system would also address capacity, coverage and interoperable communication problems TCOMM currently experiences with the current system.

Thurston 911 Communications is the county’s primary processor of 911 calls. The agency is responsible for dispatching all public safety responders in the county except for Washington State Patrol.

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