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Fire District #4

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Published:2019-07-01 Fire
Fire District #4    Print Snohomish Times    
Fire District #4

The Board of Fire Commissioners of Snohomish County Fire District #4 will be presenting a Ballot Measure to its voters on August 6th to renew the EMS Levy in order to maintain its paramedic program. The current levy, passed in 2013 and initially in 2005, will expire on December 31, 2019.

This vote will be different than the previous two EMS ballots because the Commissioners believe that now is the time to establish this levy as Permanent. Commission Chair Mark Hintz believes that the public appreciates the quality of service that the District provides, “The District has been able to support this service for 12 years with the approval of the public. A permanent status will guarantee funding and provide the District the confidence to plan for the future”, Hintz states.

A Permanent status does not require a vote of the public every 6 years, although a vote of the public could be held to repeal the EMS Levy. As for the levy amounts imposed, these vary the same as any other assessment based on property values, and by law property taxes can’t be raised greater than 1% per year without a vote of the public.

Snohomish County Fire District #4 provides emergency services to approximately 60 square miles in and around the City of Snohomish. The District has a population of about 32,000 full- time residents and responds to calls from three fire stations staffed 24 hours a day using a mix of career and part-time personnel. In 2018 District personnel responded to 2629 calls requiring medical service, 67% of all the calls that were responded to.

The District receives 86% of its funding through the collection of property taxes and is currently collecting $.34 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation for the EMS tax, this amounts to only 20% of the total 2019 budget. The Commissioners will be asking the voters to allow a Levy collection rate of up to $0.50 in order to adequately support the Paramedic Service. For the owners of a $300,000.00 home this measure would increase their assessment from $102.00 to $150.00 per year.

This measure will allow District 4 to continue the Paramedic service that has proven to be a life-saving asset to the community. Fire Chief Ron Simmons says that revenue from this levy will be particularly focused toward staffing, “The District has been extremely dependent on the availability of Part-Time staffing and those people are leaving every department in large numbers, costs for everything we use are increasing but we must hire more people to keep up with the emergency response demands of the public.”

Citizens who would like to meet with the Chief or would like more information are encouraged to call 360-568-2141 during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30 A.M to 4:30 P.M).

The public is as also encouraged to attend meetings of the Board of Fire Commissioners. Please visit the District website for schedules and more information. WWW.SnohomishFire.org.




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