County voters join throng in favor of I-747

Island County voters joined their peers statewide in giving hearty approval to an initiative that will limit property tax increases to 1 percent annually.

Initiative 747, presented to voters by government spending critic Tim Eyman, garnered about 60 percent of the local vote.

The election outcome sent the Oak Harbor City Council, Island County Commissioners and other representatives of taxing districts into head scratching mode this week, as they began to set priorities for cutting spending. The initiative’s impact won’t be huge in 2002, but it will be cumulatively larger as years go by. In addition, other revenue sources are shrinking in this recessionary year so some tough decisions will have to be made before next year’s budgets are approved.

In other election results, Oak Harbor voters started a youth movement on the City Council, giving the nod in the Position 5 race to 30-year-old Eric Gerber, who ran against Navy retiree Howard Thomas. In the only other contested council race, incumbent Richard Davis defeated Patricia Gardner.

In a lively Fire District 2 commissioner race, San de Fuca area resident Ron Muzzall won a seat on the board as he appears to have defeated Kenneth Buehn. About 4,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted county-wide.

In the Town of Coupeville, Robert Clay handily won a council seat over E.M. Spromberg, but the other contest is a squeaker as Philip Williamson and Roxanne Kelly Medley were in a virtual dead heat. They too await the counting of more ballots.

In Oak Harbor School Board races, Kathy Chalfant ran unopposed for the Position 4 seat, vacated by Susan Waller. Chalfant received more than 2,200 votes as of the early counts. Oak Harbor voted Gary Wallin into the Position 5 school board seat, a position he has held since his appointment last January. John Bartlett failed in his bid for Wallin’s seat.

In the Coupeville School Board race, incumbent Howard Mitchell appears to have warded off challenger Brian Montana to retain his District 2 seat. At last count, Mitchell was leading by a 2-1 margin. Don Sherman and Deborah Turner ran unopposed.

In the bitterly contested race for two open commissioner positions in Admirals Cove Water District, challenger Sid Iverson appears to have toppled Position 2 incumbent Howard Duncan by nearly a 2-1 margin, though the race between incumbent Adel Saba and Michael Shannon for Commissioner Position 1 was a dead heat at last count, with Saba leading by a hair.

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