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N. Idaho School Levies Ahead On Election Night

Courtesy of Kootenai County Fire District

School levies in Kootenai and Bonner counties were winning after final vote counts on Tuesday. So were bond issues in the two counties.In the case of the two school levies, what a difference two months makes.

In March, the Post Falls school levy fell just short of a majority. On Tuesday, it won almost 53% of the vote.

The two-year property tax measure would collect nearly $5 million from voters each of the next two years to supplement state education funding. District officials say the levy would provide about seven-and-a-half percent of their budget.

In the West Bonner County School District, based in Priest River, the second-chance levy had collected nearly 52% of the vote, up from about 46% in March. The levy will raise about $3.4 million from taxpayers each of the next two years. District officials say the rate will stay the same as it has been during the current levy that expires at the end of June.

In Kootenai County, 78% of voters said yes to a measure that would allow the county fire district to expand to accommodate growth in the county, says Fire Chief Christopher Way.

“They understand the challenges we’re facing, that we’re no longer the same fire district that we were 10 or 20 years ago. We haven’t built a new fire station since 1999. Everybody clearly understands our community is nothing like it was in 1999," he said.

The bond issue would tax property owners nearly $15 million over the next 10 years. The district proposes to build a new fire station in southeast Post Falls. It would also relocate two existing stations to more centralized locations in the northwest and eastern parts of the district.

Way says the proposal would also allow his district to buy a ladder truck to protect tall new buildings that are on local developers’ drawing boards.

“We know there’s plans for a five- or six-story hotel on Highway 41. We know that there’s some four- and five-story buildings planned along Highway 41. We know that there’s a new four-story townhome/mixed use plan down along the river," he said.

In Bonner County, more than 60% voted for a bond issue to pay for improvements to the county’s solid waste system. The proposal would tax voters for about $8.7 million over the next 10 years. Though in many cases, such as the Kootenai County measure, a two-thirds supermajority vote is needed to approve a bond issue, in this case, an attorney for Bonner County says the way the proposal was written, a simple majority of the people was all that was needed to approve the measure.

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