By Ann McCreary

The failed proposition to create a Metropolitan Park District in the Methow Valley was voted on by only valley residents in last month’s special election, but the cost of placing the proposal on the ballot will be paid out of Okanogan County coffers.

Because the proposition was defeated and a new taxing district was not created, there isn’t anyone to bill for the $9,173 cost of placing the issue on the special election ballot. So, the cost will be absorbed by the County Auditor’s budget, said Mila Jury, county elections administrator.

“The county eats it,” Jury said.

If the district had been approved by voters, it would have been billed for the election costs, Jury said. As a taxing district, it could allocate revenues to pay the election bill.

It’s more expensive to place an issue on a special election ballot than on primary or general election ballots, because there are fewer issues and entities involved in special elections, Jury said.

“Primary and general elections have county-wide offices so the whole county is involved and takes a proportional share,” she said.

The special election in April had five issues — a bond issue, three EMS levies and the park district proposal. The total cost of the election was $14,150, with the park district being the most expensive issue.

The cost is determined by a formula set by the state auditor based in part on the number of registered voters related to each ballot issue.

Election costs include checking petitions and certifying signatures, legal notices, printing, mailing, counting and certifying results.