Washougal voters lean toward council-manager form of government

ECFR levy lid lift is being rejected

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(Post-Record file photo) Washougal Mayor Molly Coston listens to a councilmember during the Aug. 13, 2018 Washougal City Council workshop. General election results, released Tuesday, Nov. 6, show Proposition 8, which would change the city's form of government from mayor-council, or 'strong mayor,' to council-manager or 'strong council' is passing with 54.84 percent of the vote.

Washougal Prop 8

Washougal voters are supporting a measure to change the form of government from mayor-council, or “strong mayor,” to council-manager or “strong council.”

With 4,617 votes counted so far, 2,532 voters (54.84 percent) have approved the change in the form of government, while 2,085 voters want the city to continue with the mayor-council.

A similar effort, then-known as Proposition 1, to change the form of government from mayor-council to council-manager, received 34.38 percent of the vote in November 2013.

Mayor Molly Coston said Tuesday night she was kind of surprised by the results so far, but she would be fine with however they turn out.

“I figured people would say, ‘why should we change, things are going well,’” Coston said. “I did initiate a committee (to examine both forms of government). Without any influence they decided the council manager form was a great form of government, and it was time to put it on the ballot. Certainly that is valid, to put it on the ballot.”

If the proposition passes, it would go into effect after the election results are certified Nov. 27. Coston would become an eighth council member, and the Washougal City Council would continue with eight members until the expiration of Coston’s current mayor’s term of office in December 2021.

After Coston’s term expires, the council would revert to seven members. The council would designate one of its members to hold the position of mayor, and that person would chair council meetings and represent the city at ceremonial occasions.

Coston said Tuesday night, she would like to continue to serve as mayor.

If the proposition passes, Washougal City Administrator David Scott would become an interim city manager until the city hires a new city manager or appoints the interim city manager on a permanent basis.

Scott, the city administrator since May 2010, said Tuesday night if the results hold up, he is very committed to the community and would be honored to serve as the city manager.

East County Fire and Rescue Prop 2

Voters are rejecting a levy lid lift for East County Fire and Rescue, voting 53.77 percent against Proposition 2.

The proposition would allow the East County Fire and Rescue (ECFR) district to raise its property tax levy rate to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2018 for collection in 2019. The owner of a $350,000 home would pay an extra $6.13 each month at the new rate. The proposition would have authorized annual increases of up to 6 percent for each of the coming five years.

The current rate rests at $1.29 per $1,000. The rate has been maintained at its current level to keep department revenue stagnant. However, ECFR Fire Chief Nick Swinhart said in August that ECFR calls have increased by about 52 percent over 2007 levels and that fixed costs within the district are rising much faster than the allowed 1-percent annual increase in revenue.

ECFR leaders said in August that if voters did not approve the additional 21 cents per $1,000 APV, they would have to reevaluate ECFR operations and find places to cut.

Washington’s 3rd Congressional District

With more than 75 percent of the votes counted in Clark County as of 8:08 p.m. this evening, the 3rd Congressional District race between incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her Democratic challenger, Washington State University, Vancouver professor Carolyn Long, is too close to call.

Herrera Beutler is in the lead, with 52.25 percent of the vote, and 71 percent of districtwide votes counted.

Long is performing better in Clark County, where she has garnered 75,413 votes to Herrera Beutler’s 70,203 votes with more than 75 percent of the countywide votes counted.

18th Legislative District, Position 1

Incumbent Rep. Brandon Vick is holding on to his position, with 54.92 percent of the votes districtwide and more than 75 percent of the votes counted.

His challenger, Democrat Chris Thobaben had garnered 45.08 percent of the votes as of 8:08 p.m.

18th Legislative District, Position 2

Republican Larry Hoff, a former credit union CEO, is winning the race against Democrat Kathy Gillespie, a former Vancouver School Board member, in the race for retiring Rep. Liz Pike’s 18th Legislative District, Position 2 seat.

As of 8:08 p.m., Hoff had 51.85 percent of the vote and Gillespie had garnered 48.15 percent of the vote.

Clark County Council Chair

In the race for Clark County Council Chair Democrat candidate Eric Holt held a slight lead over Republican Clark County Councilwoman Eileen Quiring as of 8:08 p.m.

Holt had 50.43 percent of the vote, with 71,545 votes, while Quiring had 70,315 votes, or 49.57 percent of the vote.