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Local ballot measures coming up this election

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Some common arguments for and against ballot measures proposed to local voters during the November General Election.

Toledo School District Bond

Title: "The Board of Directors of Toledo School District No. 237 adopted Resolution No. 2014-15-05 concerning this proposition for bonds. This proposition would authorize remodeling and modernizing Toledo High School, construction, repairs and renovations, student safety and other upgrades to designated schools and facilities throughout the district to extend their useful life, issuance of $23,500,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within a maximum of 30 years, and the levy of excess property taxes annually to repay the bonds, all as provided in Resolution No. 2014-15-05. Should this proposition be approved?"

For

- Bond approval would allow much-needed repairs and renovations to outdated district facilities, particularly the high school.

- District officials have a specific plan for how to spend the funding, and a schedule for renovations intended to have a limited impact on the learning process.

- It would help ensure the district is an area where families want to live as a place to receive a quality education.

Against

- The District is asking residents to increase property taxes by an estimated $2.68 per $1,000 of assessed value, which could increase if local assessments are reduced.

- A household living on a $150,000 property would have to pay around $400 per year in additional taxes.

- Renovations have not been mandated by the state or federal governments and it is only the district saying they are necessary.

District 6 Levy Lid Lift

Title: "The Board of Commissioners of Cowlitz County Fire District No. 6 adopted resolution No. 2014-07-25-1 concerning a proposition to finance maintenance and operations expenditures. This proposition would authorize the District to increase its regular property tax levy for maintenance and operations to an amount not to exceed $1.00 per $1,000.00 of assessed valuation for collection in 2015 and setting the limit factor to 101% for each of the five succeeding years."

For

- District 6 has been operating without a voter-approved tax increase since it was formed in 1966.

- An increase would allow funding for vehicle upgrades, training and additional staff, and would ensure current levels of service are maintained.

- An increase would help the district meet new state safety requirements for firefighter staffing during a structure fire response.

- An increase would help the district meet rising call levels for both fire and EMS.

Against

- There is no long-term plan approved by commissioners for use of the estimated $300,000 in funding the increase would produce.

- Roughly 63% of voters rejected a similar levy increase proposed in 2008.

- The district has significant cash resources, such as more than $500,000 in the Expense Fund and more than $190,000 in the Reserve Fund.

- The cost to operate the district decreased from 2012 to 2013 and is estimated to decrease again for 2014.

District 15 EMS Levy

Title: "Proposition Authorizing the Replacement of an Expiring Regular Tax Levy to Finance Emergency Medical Services for Each of 6 Consecutive Years. Should the Lewis County Fire Protection District No. 15 be authorized to replace an expiring regular property tax levy of $.25 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation beginning collection in 2015 and continuing in the succeeding five years to fund emergency medical services?"

For

- Levy rate would remain unchanged from rate of levy expiring this year.

- EMS staffing, equipment, fuel, training and other expenses are supported by levy dollars.

- Levy approval would help the district continue offering current EMS services.

Against

- Approving the levy would impose a property tax on local residents who have the option to say "No" to such taxation.

- Not all EMS funding is being spent within the district, but is currently used to make up for shortfalls within neighboring districts.

Winlock Library Annexation

Title: "Shall the City of Winlock be annexed to and be a part of the Timberland Regional Library?" Doing so would impose a property tax of $0.415 per $1,000 of assessed value on properties within the Winlock City Limits, and would place the responsibility of funding the Winlock Library solely on the Timberland Regional Library District, rather than partly on City Hall, who's annual contribution totals around $30,000 per year.

For

- Annexing into the district would ensure funding is provided for the Winlock Library, regardless of the financial circumstances of City Hall.

- Winlock is currently paying Timberland around $30,000 per year to support the library and annexation would allow the city to spend that funding elsewhere.

- The property tax imposed on to those within the city limits would be no different than the tax currently imposed in unincorporated areas of Lewis County.

Against

- Residents do not need $0.415 per $1,000 in additional property taxes.

- Timberland would not begin fully funding the library until 2016, one year after annexation would be approved.

- The City Council rejected a similar annexation proposal in 2013 on the grounds residents do not need additional taxes.

- The city has committed to continue funding the library regardless of the outcome of the election, so voting "No" would not reduce current library services.

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