Culver school levy still squeaking by

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Jefferson County Clerk Kathy Marston checks totals on Tuesday evening, as Lorelee Dendauw, left, and Sharon Hillis, right, prepare to count some of the last ballots in the election.All three Jefferson County local levies were passing in unofficial vote counts on Tuesday evening, although the Culver School District bond levy was barely squeaking by.

With 4,778 ballots counted — a voter turnout of 48.5 percent — the Jefferson County jail levy had handily passed by a vote of 2,697 yes (56.7 percent) to 2,059 no (43.3 percent).

Sheriff Jim Adkins had requested an increased operations levy of $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The five-year levy will allow the jail to continue to operate without making further cuts to personnel or services.

Adkins pointed out that even with the passage of the increased levy, taxpayers will see a reduction in the overall amount they're paying for the jail, since the jail construction bond of 77 cents per $1,000 will be paid off this fiscal year.

In the third try to pass a bond levy to make critical repairs and renovations in Culver schools, the $8.8 million levy was passing by just three votes — 588 yes to 585 no Tuesday night.

Over the course of the evening, tallies had shown it down by up to 20 votes, but the Culver and Crooked River Ranch ballot boxes put it over the top.

In her 15 years as Jefferson County clerk, Kathy Marston can't recall a vote that was so close. "I think it's the first time since I've been here," she said.

However, Marston said that the vote could still change. "Other counties probably have ballots, and some signatures are questioned," she said. "People have until Nov. 15 to verify their signatures with us."

At Crooked River Ranch, voters overwhelmingly showed their support for the Rural Fire Protection District's request for a five-year renewal of the capital and operations levy of 69 cents per $1,000 assessed property value.

A total of 1,052 voted yes on the levy (77.6 percent), compared with 304 (22.4 percent) who opposed the levy, which has remained the same since 2008.

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