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Voter turn out requirement already met in Sunnyside

Although the official election is slated to take place tomorrow, Feb. 3, many ballots have already been received by the Yakima County Elections Department.

As of Monday morning, 1,632 absentee ballots had been received for the Sunnyside School District bond and special levy election.

Tuesday, those people who didn't mail away their votes will have a chance to cast their vote in person for the bond and levy at one of two polling places in Sunnyside, Lincoln Elementary School and Sunnyside Christian Elementary School.

According to the Yakima County Elections Department, in order for the bond and special levy to pass in Sunnyside there has to be at least a 40 percent voter turnout from the last general election, and 60 percent of the votes need to be in favor of the bond and levy.

At this point, elections officials noted that Sunnyside has already met the 40 percent voter turnout needed by absentee ballots alone. This means the school district just needs to wait and see if 60 percent of those votes will be in favor of the bond and levy.

The bond and levy being voted on by residents of the Sunnyside School District are two issues. The bond the Sunnyside School District is asking voters to approve is for $11 million, and the special levy is for $1,422,595. The special levy will go into place in 2005 and continue through 2008. The new levy will replace the $1,246,000 special levy that was approved by voters in 2000.

According to the Sunnyside School District, if both the new bond and the special levy are approved by voters tomorrow property taxes in the district will go up from $1.41 per $1,000 of assessed value to $1.61 per $1,000. This means the owners of $100,000 home will pay $20 more in property taxes if the levy and bond pass. The 20 cent tax increase per $1,000 of assessed value would ultimately pay for the current $8 million bond, as well as the proposed $11 million bond and the $1,422,595 special levy. However, with state matching funds the district plans to do a minimum of $40 million in school improvements, including the construction of a new middle school.

Votes, both absentee and those cast Tuesday, will be calculated Tuesday evening with initial results due by 8 p.m.

. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at eolmstead@eaglenewspapers.com

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