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West Richland police station backers lose ground after latest count, but measure still passing

A look inside the West Richland Police Department

A look into the West Richland police Department building. West Richland Police Department is asking voters to sign off on a $12.5 million bond to build a new building.
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A look into the West Richland police Department building. West Richland Police Department is asking voters to sign off on a $12.5 million bond to build a new building.

West Richland is closer to getting a new police station.

A $12.5 million bond measure to give West Richland police more space continues to pass with 61 percent approval after the second batch of ballots were counted Wednesday afternoon.

The measure has received 2,100 yes votes, or 61.3 percent, while 1,325 voters have opposed it.

While the opposition gained some ground in the latest round of counting, it stayed above the 60 percent approval that it needs to pass. It’s not clear how many of the remaining registered voters cast a ballot, but the final count of any remaining outstanding ballots is expected to be made on May 3.

The measure also met a second validation requirement for a bond measure. The proposal needed to have 2,768 votes cast for it to be validated. That number represents 40 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the latest general election. With 3,425 votes already counted by Wednesday, the threshold has been met.

The bond issue would pay to replace the 3,500-square-foot police facility on Van Giesen Street with a 22,500-square-foot building, likely on Bombing Range Road.

The measure is expected to add 42 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to West Richland homeowners’ annual property tax bill. For a $200,000 home, that would add up to $84 more a year.

West Richland police officials said the new facility is necessary to replace the 40-year-old building that was designed when the department only had three officers. The new facility would have more space for evidence storage, a separate armory and interview rooms. Plans also called for a community meeting area.

Opponents of the measure disagreed with the size and potential location of the building, while agreeing the department does need a new building.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.


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