Voters say yes to school, hospital levies ... but not in Omak

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Ballot initiatives to fund Wenatchee, Wash., schools and construct a new Chelan hospital won hearty support from voters in Tuesday's special election tally.

But in Okanogan County, a bid to construct a new Omak middle school with a bond issue fell short, with almost 56 percent of voters rejecting the measure.

Chelan's hospital bond won 64 percent of the vote Tuesday, beating the 60 percent supermajority required for passage. t would finance a new $44.5 million facility and requiring a 60 percent supermajority to pass. If validated, the bond's passage would cost property owners an estimated $0.38 per $1,000 of assessed value for 30 years. That equates to an extra $95 a year for a $250,000 home.

The current Lake Chelan Community Hospital was built in 1972, and last renovated in 1994. The closely watched ballot measure was the third such vote in five years. I

The Wenatchee School District levy required only a simple majority, and won 59 percent voter approval. The vote replaces an expiring four-year levy for maintenance an operations, amounting to 12.6 percent of the district's overall budget. Property owners in the district will pay an estimated $2.96 per $1,000 of assess value, the same rate as the expiring levy.

Omak School District officials sought to replace the existing middle school, built in 1948 and now suffering the pangs of age. But of the 1,760 votes counted Tuesday, only 777 were in favor of the $27.8 million bond issue, with 120 ballots remained to be counted -- not enough to make up the 206-vote difference. As in Chelan, the Omak bond required a 60 percent supermajority.

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