Jessy Martinez, a bilingual office specialist for the Yakima County Auditor’s Office, counts ballots Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at the Yakima County Auditor’s Office in Yakima, Wash.

Yakima voters shot down a proposed city levy lid lift Tuesday, with about 64% voting no.

The proposal would have increased the city’s regular property tax levy by $0.40 to $3.10 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2021. The additional $3 million in revenue a year would have gone to the city’s general fund to help cover operations costs related to public safety, street repairs and facility maintenance, city staff said.

On Tuesday, close to 64% of voters, or 7,320 people, voted against the levy lid lift. The yes votes totaled 4,126, or 36%.

The election night count usually represents about 20% of the ballots that have been returned to the Auditor’s office prior to Election Day, according to city staff, and more ballots will be counted in the days ahead.

City spokesman Randy Beehler said the city has had to cut or reduce services or programs in the past when proposals fail. He said that likely will have to happen given the results.

“We will just have to go back to determining what services can be provided and the level that they can be,” he said. “We’ll likely have to reduce or eliminate others.”

Councilwoman Kay Funk said she was not surprised that the levy lid lift failed.

“It’s a complicated measure, and we didn’t do a good job explaining it,” she said.

Funk said the Yakima City Council has already has taken some steps in the budget to put the measure back on the November general election ballot.

Funk said she hopes the council will be able to help voters have a clearer picture of where the levy lid lift funds would go, including to public safety needs.

“I’m happy to look at this as a test run, where we did a poor job of explaining the city’s needs,” she said. “We’ll try to do a better job of educating the public. This is the only way we will get new revenue for the city.”


A Naches Park and Recreation District levy proposal, which needed 60% yes votes to pass, is passing. The levy proposal received about 68% voting yes.

The funds will help cover the costs of operations, maintenance, equipment and activities at Applewood Park and the Naches Swimming Pool.

The election will be certified on Feb. 21.