Grays Harbor voters approved a sales tax to upgrade E-911 services on Election Day.
The voter turnout in initial counting was 27.8 percent, but will go higher as last-minute ballots arrive in coming days. The count includes ballots received in the mail as of Tuesday, but not ballots mailed on Election Day. Ballots cast at drop boxes will be processed Wednesday. All results on Election Day are preliminary. The next scheduled tally is Friday.
Grays Harbor County Auditor Joe MacLean reported that voting was so popular in Hoquiam that his team had to empty the dropoff ballot box on Election Day to make room for more. The dropoff spot at the YMCA “was just emptied on Friday afternoon and today (Tuesday) the box was so full we had to make an emergency trip to pick up the ballots,” MacLean said by email.
Voter turnout was higher in Ocean Shores and Cosmopolis, which both have hotly contested mayoral races. And in Cosi, voters were deciding whether to fund a new municipal building to hold City Hall, the police department and municipal court.
With slightly more than one-quarter of the ballots returned and counted, the measure is passing 7,529 votes for and 4,490 votes against.
The measure would pay for installing new radio towers, that would cost around $8 million, according to one estimate. The emergency services infrastructure upgrades would benefit the Grays Harbor Communications Center which runs the countywide E-911 dispatching.
GHCC services 30 agencies across the county. The only two local fire, EMS or law enforcement agencies that operate in the county not serviced by GHCC are the Washington State Patrol and the Chehalis Tribal Police Department.
The GHCC is led by two governing boards. The Operations Board consists of law enforcement leaders in the county; the Administrative Board is made up of one county commissioner and mayors of the majority of the cities in the county. Both bodies would have to approve upgrades to the system.
There is no end date for the increase of the sales tax.
Cosi muni building
In Cosmopolis, a $3 million bond measure to build a new Municipal Building was failing to meet its supermajority requirement, with yes votes leading 250 to 175 for 58.8 percent of the vote.
Hospital District 2
Lynn Csernotta, with 30 years of experience in management levels of health information services, won a seat on the Grays Harbor Hospital District 2 board, defeating Richard Thompson, a former Community Hospital registered nurse who has been particularly critical of the current hospital management. In initial vote counting, Csernotta leads 4,290 to 3,285 with 56 percent of the vote.
The other contested race in District 2 is too close to call, with incumbent Melanie Sturgeon leading Scott Dilley 4,055 to 3,948 for 50.2 percent of the vote. Dilley had also been critical of hospital management.
Three incumbent board members were elected without drawing challengers: board Chairman Michael Bruce, David Quigg and Chris Thomas.
Among her top priorities, Csernotta included expanding urgent care and other health services to underserved areas such as the North Beach.
Increasing visibility, transparency and communication from the Community Hospital executive team and commissioners in the community is another of her priorities.
In the countywide Port Commission race, incumbent Tom Quigg is an easy winner, leading Tim Carr 6,468 to 3,839 with 62 percent of the vote.
There are four contested Aberdeen City Council races, the most tightly contested Tuesday being in Ward 2, where Nathan Kennedy holds a 5-vote lead over David Gakin, 130-125, 50.98% to 49.02%. In Ward 1, Shaney Crosby leads Robert J. Rodgers 181-130, 57.64% to 41.4%. In Ward 3, Kati Kachman leads Dave Deakin 224-133, 62.4% to 37.05%. Debora Ross leads Tara Mareth in the Ward 4 race 306-223, 57.52% to 41.92%.
In one contested Hoquiam City Council race, Al Dick leads Jamie C. Brand 127-75, 62.25% to 36.76%, in the Ward 4 Position 8 race.