The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

How local election results affect Adams County


Last updated 1/11/2019 at 1:52pm

As the Nov. 6 general election begins to fade in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward to the local implications of the decisions that were made by the voters.

0.3 percent sales and use tax currently passing

With 57.2 percent of registered voters in Adams County having voted, according to the last time ballots were tabulated on Nov. 9, the proposition that would raise the sales tax by 0.3 percent in the county is narrowly passing with support from 51.05 percent of the voters.

It is unclear at this time how many votes still need to be counted in the county, with the next tabulation update scheduled for 3 p.m. on Nov. 15. Election results will be certified by Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Nov. 27.

Adams County Sheriff Dale Wagner said that he hopes and believes the funds will be used to fund more personnel for the county’s law enforcement and justice services, but says it is ultimately up to the Adams County Commissioners to decide how the funds will be used.

The proposition, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, is expected to raise between $500,000 and $750,000 per year, according to a report from the Othello Sun Tribune in September. In an interview with the Ritzville Journal prior to the election, Commissioner Terry Thompson—who was re-elected to his seat in the election—said that he and the two other commissioners supported the proposition and its intended purpose of funding law enforcement and justice services personnel.

“We’re short officers, and even a little bit in the jail, too, so we’re looking for ways to help put more men on the road,” Thompson said.

Wagner, who supported the proposition, said that it was written to enhance law and justice services in the county, and that he has requested to hire four road deputies if the proposition ends up passing, one of which would be a sergeant position. Wagner has also requested more staffing for the county jail and dispatch.

Sixty percent of the funds raised from the increased sales tax will go directly to Adams County, while the remaining 40 percent will be split among the two designated cities in the county, Ritzville and Othello. At the Ritzville City Council meeting on Nov. 6, Treasurer-Clerk Julie Flyckt said that the city would receive a projected $59,000 in funds in 2019 if the proposition passed, which wasn’t yet reflected in the 2019 Preliminary Budget due to not yet knowing if the proposition would pass.

Kayla Meise elected as county treasurer

Kayla Meise defeated Janet Manke in the election to succeed current treasurer Laura Danekas, who is retiring after serving in the position for 25 years. As it currently stands, Meise leads with 61.4 percent of the total vote to Manke’s 38.6 percent.

Meise currently works in the Treasurer’s Office and deals with investments and foreclosures. She previously worked at a collection agency and was a personal banker at Umpqua Bank in Ritzville. Manke has worked at the Treasurer’s Office for 13 years and is currently the operations supervisor and had been endorsed by Danekas.

In an interview with the Ritzville Journal prior to the election, Meise said that she hoped to streamline a lot of the day-to-day processes in the Treasurer’s Office if elected. One “common-sense” solution she gave that she believes would help streamline issues is making it capable for each desk that receives tax payments to accept credit cards during in-person payments.

“My biggest goal is to make doing business in the Treasurer’s Office easier for the public,” said Meise. “I’d like to offer electronic tax statements to people that want them, but then also keep the option to receive paper statements for people that prefer them. I’d like to upload our most commonly used forms on our website. It doesn’t cost us any extra money. So they’re not big changes, they’re little changes that do add up.”

Terry Thompson wins full term as county commissioner

After being appointed as a county commissioner earlier this spring following the departure of Republican Jeff Stevens, Terry Thompson was elected to a full term in the general election.

Thompson—who has served on the Port of Othello Board of Commissioners, the Adams County Development Council and the Othello Community Hospital Board—currently leads with 57.3 percent of the vote against Mike Garza, an insurance agent from Othello.

Garza was one of the three Republican candidates—alongside Thompson and Roger Farwell—put forward by the Adams County Republican Central Committee following Stevens’ departure. The current commissioners, John Marshall and Roger Hartwig, chose Thompson to replace Stevens and finish the rest of his term.

One of Thompson’s biggest immediate priorities as a commissioner is to continue to push to bring more water to Adams County from the East High Canal.

“There’s deep wells here that are going dry and they’re re-digging them and some of them are going down to 2,500 feet,” said Thompson in an interview with the Ritzville Journal prior to the general election. “And not just the water for the farming. These aquifers are going down. I’ve been to some water meetings and 20 to 25 years down the road we’re going to be worried about enough drinking water.”

Thompson also wants the commissioners to continue to help bring business into Adams County, and applauded Adams County Economic Director Stephen McFadden for his work. And while Thompson wants to keep the budget in check, he noted that it is currently a “juggling act” to try and maintain both decent roads and good criminal justice services in the county at the same time.


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