Bainbridge voters line up to drop off ballots at the Kitsap County dropbox on Madison Avenue Tuesday afternoon. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

Bainbridge voters line up to drop off ballots at the Kitsap County dropbox on Madison Avenue Tuesday afternoon. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

Bainbridge voters reject levy for bike improvements

Bainbridge Island voters have rejected a $15 million, seven-year levy to pay for roadside improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians.

According to the first vote tally released by the Kitsap County Elections Division on Election Night, Proposition 1 was headed toward defeat, with 55.2 percent of voters casting “no” votes against the proposal, and 44.8 percent in approval.

The vote count stood Tuesday night at 6,187 votes against the measure, and 5,028 votes for it.

The next vote count is planned for Wednesday.

Prop. 1 proponents said the property tax increase would provide a jump start to a long list of non-motorized improvements across the island, from widened shoulders for bikers and walkers as well as new sidewalks in the downtown core, as well as safe routes for children headed to school.

Opponents blasted Prop. 1 as a costly boondoggle, and noted the actual ballot measure did not list which projects would actually get built.

Prop. 1, labeled the “Connecting Bainbridge: SAFE Mobility Levy,” needs a simple majority to pass.

The ballot measure called for an increase in property taxes by 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, according to a city estimate. For the owner of a $660,000 (the median home value on Bainbridge), the property tax bill was predicted to rise by $185.

Prop. 1 was the city’s first attempt at raising property taxes via a public vote since a $15 million bond measure for a new police station fell in a landslide defeat in the November 2015 election.

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