Pullman residents voted in favor of two city bonds Tuesday, but the city’s turnout for the election is not currently enough for the bonds to pass, according to turnout requirements provided to the Daily News by Whitman County Auditor Eunice Coker.
After the first count Tuesday, a $10.5 million bond to relocate City Hall, construct a new event center and acquire a third fire station had received a 60.15 percent approval rating out of 1,852 votes.
A second, $2.4 million replacement bond for repairs and upgrades to city parks and paths received 70.65 percent approval out of 1,840 votes.
According to Coker, not only do the bonds need at least 60 percent of the vote to pass, but voter turnout must be at least 40 percent of numbers shown in the last general election for the vote to be valid — so far, it is not. It is estimated there are 1,000 ballots left to count this Thursday.
“Pullman’s turnout in the 2016 election was 9,635, so there must be a turnout this year of at least 3,854,” Coker wrote in an email, “and there must be at least 2,312.4 yes votes on each proposition for them to pass.”
Pullman City Supervisor Adam Lincoln said Tuesday night after viewing the results that the city will need to have a conversation with the county to find out how those 2016 turnout numbers were generated.
“If those numbers are correct then it’s unfortunate that we got that close in terms of the percent turnout,” Lincoln said.
The $10.5 million bond, to be paid over a 20-year timespan, would have gone toward the purchase of the Encounter Ministries property on Southeast Crestview Street to repurpose into a new City Hall. It would also allow for the acquisition, construction and installation of a new Lawson Gardens event facility and site acquisition for a third fire station.
It is estimated the owner of a $200,000 home would have seen an increase of approximately $88 annually in property taxes were the bond approved.
The Encounter Ministries property includes increased parking from the current City Hall, a larger senior space and a gym.
The property was offered to the city for $3.5 million. According to the city’s website, fully constructing a new City Hall and recreation center would likely cost anywhere from $20 million to $50 million. The city was the frontrunner for the property, according to Lincoln.
The $2.4 million replacement bond for repairs and upgrades to certain city parks and paths was to be paid over a 10-year timespan and would not have increased property tax rates. The owner of a $200,000 home would have continued paying approximately $33 annually in property taxes were the bond approved.
The bond would have included Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to certain city parks.
Taylor Nadauld can be reached at (208) 883-4630, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @tnadauldarg.