In an election that cost the public about $50,000 and produced less than 200 votes, Bob Vos was re-elected March 18 to the Board of Supervisors of the King Conservation District.
Running virtually unopposed, Vos received 185 votes in the countywide election March 18 for a three-year term in Position 2. Eleven write-in votes were cast for other candidates.
Vos was appointed to the board about two years ago. He’s a retired former Boeing employee and raises beef cattle on a farm that’s located between Auburn and Enumclaw.
Vos said he was surprised by the scarce number of votes in last month’s election. Last year, he said, about 1,000 people in the district cast ballots. He expected a larger number this year, but the turnout may have been affected by the fact he was the only announced candidate.
As in past conservation district elections, most registered voters in King County – including cities within the county – were eligible to vote. Ballots could be cast at 10 polling places, including Greater Maple Valley Community Center.
The other polling places were in Auburn, Enumclaw, Issaquah, Kirkland, Renton, Seattle, Shoreline, Carnation and Vashon Island.
This year’s election was more expensive than past years, but Vos said the district wanted to expand the number of polling places. There were seven last year.
In addition, the district hired an outside firm to conduct the election last month. The district’s own personnel organized and ran previous elections, Vos said.
Part of the money spent on this year’s election went to advertising it, he added.
According to Vos, the board has been trying to raise the profile of the conservation district, which helps manage natural resources and promotes conservation throughout the county.
He speculated the money for last month’s election might have been better-spent on “on-the-ground” projects.
The district, which has headquarters in Renton, is funded primarily through assessments on all property within the district’s boundary (except for the cities of Federal Way, Enumclaw, Pacific, Milton and Skykomish).
Proceeds from the tax, including about $6 million last year, are shared by the district for its operations and programs and by cities for natural-resource management and conservation projects. The latter include watershed protection, restoration and salmon conservation.
The Board of Supervisors awards grants that are based on recommendations from three watershed advisory groups, including the Lake Washington-Cedar-Sammamish Salmon Recovery Council. The groups involve jurisdictions within the watershed areas.
The Renton Reporter contributed to this report.