Medina voters Friday were narrowly passing a ballot measure to increase the city’s property-tax levy rate in updated results from Tuesday’s election.
The Medina results had been close since election night, when the measure was trailing by just four votes. The gap widened to 10 votes when results were updated Thursday afternoon. But on Friday night, after two King County Elections vote drops, the measure was leading by 23 votes.
If approved, the city’s levy rate would increase by 20 cents, to 84 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2020, and additional increases of 5% each year until 2025. The owner of a home valued at $2 million — the majority of Medina homes are valued around that number — would pay $1,680 to the city in 2020. That’s about $400 more than the homeowner paid to the city in 2019.
The city would retain the same services if the measure passes. The city’s preliminary plan if the measure doesn’t pass is to make cuts in multiple budget areas, including eliminating the marine patrol, season lifeguards and seasonal public-work employees.
Critics of the measure say the city’s budget woes are self-inflicted and that residents already pay too much in taxes.
Medina resident Heija Nunn, who is a former chair of the city’s planning commission, said she felt confident earlier this week that the approval rate would increase.
Supporters of the measure, she added, are “committed to preserving the character and charm of Medina for future generations.”
While the votes for and against the measure are close, recounts aren’t automatically triggered for local measures. A recount can be requested, but the person making the request would have to foot the bill, said King County Elections spokeswoman Halei Watkins.
Close council races in Redmond, Mercer Island
In other close Eastside results, two different city council races in separate cities are both separated by 19 votes. One is for a seat on the Redmond City Council, between incumbent Hank Myers and Varisha Khan.
After trailing with 45% of the vote earlier this week, Khan by Friday was edging out Myers by 19 votes out of nearly 13,000 total. Myers has served on the City Council for three terms. If Khan is elected, the community organizer would be among the first Muslim women voted into local office in Washington state.
In Mercer Island, the race for Position 1 seat on the City Council is also separated by 19 votes, with Dave Rosenbaum leading Daniel Thompson.
Staff reporter Asia Fields contributed to this report.