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Coupeville port measure soundly beaten

A levy increase that would have helped the Port of Coupeville pay the bonds on the Greenbank Farm appears to be going down in flames.

According to the Tuesday night vote count at the Island County Auditor's Office, the port's levy proposal was losing with 3,439 voters rejecting it and only 1,362 voters supporting it. There are approximately 6,500 votes county-wide that election officials have left to count.

The big loss was met with disappointment by port officials.

Marshal Bronson, port commissioner, was sorry about the results of Tuesday's election. He said the people who wanted the farm put in public ownership more than 10 years ago aren't doing enough to help the farm.

"The voters who worked to save the Greenbank Farm aren't doing enough to support it," Bronson said.

The Port of Coupeville is paying $100,100 a year to pay the bond and nearly $50,000 a year fee to the Greenbank Farm Management Group. The proposal would have increased the levy by 6 cents per $1,000 assessed property value.

The bond payments have eaten away at the port's budget reserves over the years, until this year when their reserves were basically exhausted.

The bonds for the Greenbank Farm will be paid off in 2017.

Bronson admitted the economy made it a bad time to run a tax increase before the voters.

"It was the primary issue on everybody's minds," Bronson said.

Commissioner Benye Weber echoed Bronson's comments about the economy.

"It didn't come as a big surprise," Weber said adding all of the local tax proposals that were on the ballot this year would have added up and had an impact on the taxpayers' wallets.

Bronson said the port will continue to work using the resources they have at hand.

In an interview last month, executive director Jim Patton had some ideas about ways to make ends meet, which included continuing to hold off on maintenance projects and suspending work on the Greenbank Farm master site plan.

Weber said she doesn't know what the port will do next. That will be discussed during the port's monthly at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the Commissioners' Hearing Room in the Courthouse Annex Building.

Whidbey Island proposals that would have raised taxes fared poorly in Tuesday's elections.

The voters are giving a resounding no transferring electricity service to a public utility district. According to Tuesday's count, 15,045 voters are rejecting it while 7,554 voters are supporting it.

A levy increase by North Whidbey Fire and Rescue along with two proposals on South Whidbey Island appear to be failing by significant margins.

The Island County Auditor's Office is scheduled to update election results by 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 5.

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