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Levy elections: Polk public safety passing; Santiam schools bond passing


Voters around Mill City are being asked to pass a $17.9 million school bond in the May election. Bill Poehler, Statesman Journal

Voters in Polk County, Jefferson, Idanha and Detroit were approving tax measures in the early results of Tuesday’s election and the Santiam Canyon school bond levy also appeared to be passing.

Polk County public safety

The Polk County public safety tax is passing in early results Tuesday by a 2 to 1 margin.

“It just shows that a lot of the hard work that everyone has put in to rebuilding our system, it’s kind of validated,” Polk County Sheriff Mark Garton said.

The levy, which would renew current taxes for a five-year period to continue public safety funding and hire one additional staff member, would tax property at 45 cents per $1,000 in assessed value per year and would replace a 2015 levy.

That levy, which restored 24-hour sheriff’s patrols, capped the tax amount at 42.5 cents per $1,000 over five years that runs through 2019-2020.

A rendering of what Santiam High School will look like if voters approve a $17.9 million bond. (Photo: Special to the Statesman Journal)

Full results: Salem-Keizer and Marion, Polk county results for May 21 election

Santiam Canyon schools

The Santiam Canyon School District’s $17.9 million school bond is passing by a 5 to 4 margin.

“Right now we’re just watching the numbers closely,” Santiam Canyon superintendent Todd Miller said. “We’re very tentative, but you know still optimistic.

“There’s still the last day’s votes coming in, probably getting into Albany right about now. Whatever ballots were in the bag to Albany are still coming in.”

If the bond is approved by voters, residents would pay $2.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value, approximately $245 per year for 25 years. The bond would pay to replace its failing building and build a new cafeteria.

The Santiam Canyon School District is one of the few districts in the Willamette Valley which has yet to pass a bond. The last time the Santiam Canyon district put a bond measure to voters was 2008 when it asked for $14.5 million, but it failed 61 percent to 38 percent.

Construction of each of the three new classroom buildings for the school is estimated at $2.8 million, and they would be rated for 50 years.Demolition of the current school building is estimated at $750,000.

Jefferson fire district

The Jefferson Rural Fire District’s operation levy is passing by a 5 to 4 margin.

The district, which covers 97 square miles in Marion and Linn counties, saw a decrease of $275,000 in property tax revenue in the 2018-2019 fiscal year when Millersburg withdrew from the district.  

The levy would assess 38 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for five years.

The measure would raise approximately $1,384,500 over five years, which would be used for improved staffing, replacing an ambulance and water tender, station maintenance and equipment maintenance.

Idanha-Detroit Fire District

The Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire District’s five-year operating levy is passing by a 2 to 1 margin.

If passed, residents will continue to pay 68 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for a five-year period through 2024.

The levy is a renewal of a similar levy from 2014 that expires this year. The cost of the new levy is the same as the last one.

The levy would raise approximately $254,077 over the five years and will continue to fund general operations of the district.

bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com or Twitter.com/bpoehler

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