The two fire districts that placed measures on the ballot for Lewis County’s primary election saw mixed results as of the preliminary counts on election night, with Lewis County Fire District 6’s levy continuation proposal leaning toward approval and Napavine’s request for a levy increase leaning toward failure Tuesday night.
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, approval for Lewis County Fire District 6’s Emergency Medical Services Tax Levy Proposal was at 74.83%, or 1,424 votes, in favor and 25.17%, or 479 votes, opposed.
If approved, the measure will authorize the fire district to continue its EMS property tax levy at a rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 10 years.
“We're very pleased to get the support of the people that we support out there,” said District 6 Chief Ken Cardinale on Wednesday. “We definitely needed this funding. It will help us improve our service. So we're very, very pleased.”
Lewis County Fire District 5’s Multiple Year Permanent Levy Lift was leaning toward failure Tuesday evening with 50.82%, or 935 votes, opposed and 49.18%, or 905 votes, in favor.
If passed, the proposal would raise the district’s levy rate from 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to a rate of $1.28 per $1,000 of assessed value for 2023 and provide for a limit factor up to 6% in the succeeding five years.
The same District 5 proposal failed by one vote in the August 2021 primary.
West Thurston Fire Authority’s two ballot measures asking voters in District 1, Rochester and District 11, Littlerock, to renew the fire authority’s levy at a higher rate were both leaning towards approval with 54% Tuesday night; but the proposals need a 60% supermajority to pass so both were failing as of election night.
The levy proposal itself is split into two ballot items, one for each district encompassed by West Thurston, but both proposals ask for the same rates: approximately $1.71 for 2023, $1.63 for 2024, $1.55 for 2025 and $1.48 for 2026.
As of Tuesday evening, 54.78% of Rochester voters approved the levy, for a total of 968 yes votes, while 45.22%, or 799 voters, opposed.
In Littlerock, 54.74%, or 883 votes, were in favor of the levy and 45.26%, or 730, opposed.
“We are disappointed with the initial unofficial results But we await the results from all of the ballots counted. We understand there will be additional ballots counted this evening, a sizable amount,” West Thurston Fire Chief Rob Smith said Wednesday morning, “So we don’t know whether this passes … it’s not passing at this point, but we are hopeful. The consequence of the levy ultimately failing is that we will end up closing 50% of our stations and laying off 50% of our staff. But we will make another attempt at it for the general election in November to get this passed, and it's going to require a community effort to do this.”
The results of the August primary election will be finalized on Tuesday, Aug. 16.
This article was corrected Wednesday morning. A previous version inaccurately stated that the West Thurston proposals were passing on election night.