December 22, 1997
Three-year EMS levy on February ballot
SEATTLE--Last week, the King County Council approved placing a county-wide three-year emergency medical services levy on the February 3 ballot. Next step is motivating voters to approve the measure. The levy would collect $.29 per $1,000 of assessed property value beginning Jan. 1, 1999 if approved. Cost for a $200,000 house will be $58 per year. EMS provides funding for basic life support and advanced life support services for the approximately 1.5 million county residents. EMTs in city fire departments and local fire districts provide BLS while paramedics from Medic One administer ALS.
The levy must be approved by 60 percent of voters for the election to be validated. Last November, a six-year EMS levy failed to validate. The county then scoured its budget to fund EMS with $8 million for the first six months of 1998. The last six will be funded through tax anticipation notes. The county council's move follows approval of the measure by the Seattle, Bellevue, Shoreline, Federal Way and Kent city councils. Under law, all city's with population of 50,000 or more must approve sending the levy to the county council.