Measure K, the quarter-cent sales tax to fund Napa County open space and parks, was falling short of the needed two-thirds voter approval after three batches of votes were released Tuesday night.
The measure had 59% approval after 22,865 votes were counted.
Doug Parker, the president and CEO of the Land Trust of Napa County, said he believed Measure K could still receive significant additional support from the majority of the ballots yet to be counted.
That sentiment was echoed by Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District General Manager John Woodbury, who said it was possible Napa County’s Democratic voters had held off turning in their ballots until the last possible moment, a reflection of a field of presidential candidates that had remained in flux.
“How much is it going to move? I have no way of knowing,” Woodbury said Tuesday night.
County Assessor John Tuteur had said he expected Tuesday night’s totals would reflect the final counts later this month unless contests were “very close.”
Tuesday night was reminiscent of Measure Z, a previous open space ballot measure that failed in 2016. Initial counts saw the measure with 62% approval, which ultimately climbed to 65% at the final counting, barely missing the required two-thirds, or 66 percent.
The group of supporters gathered at Stone Brewing Tuesday night included Brent Randol and Barry Christian, members of the Open Space Board.
Measure K would generate more than $9 million annually, according to Yes on K’s website. Randol, of District 3, emphasized that 52% of those funds could be used to purchase additional open space lands, including the 850-acre Skyline Wilderness Park that the county has leased annually from the state for $100 a year. The lease is up in 2030.
“We won’t be at the whims of Sacramento (if we’re able to buy the land),” Randol said.
Twenty percent of money raised by Measure K would go to the four cities and one town within Napa County for parks and recreation.
Woodbury said the group would keep a close eye on the results as the remaining ballots were counted. Even with an initially lower-than-needed percentage, he was in good spirits.
“I spent (Tuesday) afternoon being nervous (about this evening), but then I just realized that there’s been overwhelming support for Measure K, which I find very gratifying,” he said. “Even if we don’t win, there has been just an outpouring of support.”
This story has been updated since first posting to include additional votes released Tuesday night by the county elections office.
You can reach Sarah Klearman at (707) 256-2213 or email@example.com.
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