On February 9, voters of Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 2 approved a permanent property tax levy for emergency medical services (EMS).
The levy will take effect on January 1, 2017. It will replace the current EMS levy which expires on December 31, 2016. Both levy rates are 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning a house valued at $200,000 pays $50 a year in property taxes.
The EMS levy supports the operation of Upper Kittitas County Medic One ambulance services, including staff, ambulances, supplies, and facilities in upper Kittitas County. User fees pay for less than half of the cost to operate the ambulance service. The rest is covered by the EMS levy.
Voters had approved levy funding for the past 18 years, in six year cycles. The permanent nature of the new levy will remove funding uncertainty and provide stability in operations. The hospital district will now have the permanent capability to levy property taxes of up to 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation during their annual budgeting process.
“I believe it is good business to eliminate the cost of running a levy every six years when it has been shown that the levy is necessary to maintain the operations of Medic One in the upper county,” said Floyd Rogalski, President of the Board of Commissioners for Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 2. “With this vote, residents have shown their support for the continued availability of the Medic One program.”
Upper Kittitas County Medic One operates one full-time ambulance staffed 24 hours a day and a second ambulance which is staffed 12 hours a day. Both are staffed with a paramedic and an emergency medical technician (EMT).