By BRIAN WALKER
COEUR d'ALENE — Just as an election season closes, more are upon us.
With Tuesday's school funding proposals and the Dalton Gardens recall in the rear-view mirror, the deadline is Friday at 5 p.m. to file as a candidate in the May 21 election for taxing districts.
"Deadlines are coming up fast," said Judd Wilson, Kootenai County's elections manager. "Even though people just voted on Tuesday, there's another election in two months. These elections are important."
Looking even further ahead, the Nov. 5 election featuring city, school and fire district seats is also generating some early buzz, Wilson said.
MAY 21 ELECTION
Several seats on highway, hospital, library and water and sewer district boards throughout Kootenai County are up for grabs.
Highway districts that have commissioner openings include: Eastside, sub-districts 1 and 3; Lakes, sub-districts 2 and 3; Post Falls, sub-district 3; and Worley, sub-districts 1 and 3. Terms are four years.
The Kootenai Hospital District has two six-year-term board of trustee positions opening up.
The Consolidated Free Library District has a six-year trustee term at stake.
Water and sewer districts that have openings include: Alpine Meadows, two board seats; Bayview, director No. 3; Dry Acres, one board seat; Green Ferry, seats 1, 3 and 4; Hayden Lake Sewer, two board seats; Kingston-Cataldo Sewer, one board seat; Kootenai County Water District 1, director; North Kootenai Water, seat 5. With the exception of Alpine Meadows, which has one four-year seat opening up along with a six-year seat, all terms are six years.
As of Friday, just five candidates had filed to run. All of those candidates filed for different seats. A list of candidates will be updated at http://www.kcgov.us/701/Current-Candidates during the filing period. If only one candidate files for a seat, the position will not be on the ballot.
The deadline for ballot language for bonds and initiatives in the May election is April 1.
The Timberlake Fire Protection District will decide whether to place a permanent override levy on the ballot when it meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Station 1 in Athol.
Chief Bill Steele said the funds would go toward hiring two firefighters, improving the volunteer program, replacing three vehicles and remodeling the Bayview station to add living space.
Steele said the maximum amount of the levy would be $290,000, which, if approved, would raise the current levy about $30 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value.
"That would still be less than the levy rate when the district was formed 20 years ago," Steele said. "I believe I am proposing a very reasonable, justifiable and much-needed request, considering our call volume is increasing 10 to 12 percent a year. Our population is growing rapidly and operating costs are rising well over our current funding level."
Steele said that whatever amount is approved, it would increase the budget for one year before the rate would drop a little each year because values go up and more assessed value is added.
"A permanent override is permanent until another vote of the citizens to change it," he said. "The rate lowers every year by a few cents."
Steele said the district has not needed to request additional funds until now. He said that if the board approves placing the proposal on the ballot, public information meetings will be held.
Meanwhile, the Bayview Water and Sewer District has been discussing whether to float another bond proposal for system improvements after a previous plan last November didn't pass. The district will decide at its next meeting on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the district office, 20298 E. Perimeter Road, on whether to send a proposal to voters. A rate increase proposal is also on the agenda. A draft water facility plan is available at bayviewwaterandsewer.com.
The deadline to file as a write-in candidate for the May 21 election is April 8 at 5 p.m. Early voting at the elections office is May 6 to 17.
Absentee ballots will be mailed out starting on April 22 and the last day to request such a ballot is May 10.
NOV. 5 ELECTION
The candidate filing deadline is Sept. 6 at 5 p.m.
All cities in Kootenai County will have multiple seats opening up, including mayoral positions in Hayden, Rathdrum, Athol, Dalton Gardens, Fernan Village, Hauser, Hayden Lake, Huetter and Worley.
The Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, Lakeland, Kootenai and Plummer-Worley school districts will have multiple board of trustee openings.
Fire districts that will have board seats up for grabs include Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, Northern Lakes, Timberlake, East Side, Hauser Lake, Mica-Kidd Island, Spirit Lake, St. Maries and Worley.
For more information on the elections, call 208-446-1030 or visit:
When requesting an absentee ballot, voters can check all the elections for that calendar year for which they want to receive a ballot. However, such requests must be done every calendar year.