EMS levy going to ballot

11-cent increase will be on Aug. 7 ballot
By Brandon Gustafson | May 09, 2018

The Mukilteo City Council unanimously approved putting a measure on the Aug. 7 Primary ballot, which would raise the current Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy rate from 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed value up to 50 cents.

Voters in Mukilteo had originally approved a 50 cents per $1,000 levy back in 2010, but due to a state initiative, the rate had to be reduced.

As valuations in Mukilteo have increased, the levy amount has actually decreased, going from 47 cents in 2015 steadily down to the current 39 cents in 2018.

This would be the fourth voter approved levy increase in Mukilteo this year, as two levies were approved for Mukilteo schools, and recently, the Sno-Isle Libraries’ levy passed as well.

The council had to vote on this issue this week, as the Primary election filing deadline is this Friday.

According to Mukilteo Finance Director Michelle Meyer, there is a “lid lift” for the six years this levy would be in place, from 2019 to 2024, and would limit the increase in the levy’s amount to no more than a 6 percent increase from year to year, but going no higher than 50 cents per $1,000.

“The council could vote each year to keep the levy amount collected closer to that 50 cents,” Meyer said.

According to Meyer, the average impact for homeowners would be around $51 each year.

“The property impact on a homeowner would be about a $51 per year increase based on the average home value,” Meyer said. “That equates to about $4.25 per month per home.”

The funds from the levy would go toward replacing funding that is currently being transferred from the city’s general fund to EMS, would allow EMS to hire a full-time Medical Services Officer, set funds aside for equipment replacement, and fund injury prevention education for the community.

Councilmember Richard Emery made the motion to put the levy on the ballot.

“It seems like it’s time to make a decision about what we want to do with this,” Emery said. “I think it would benefit the fire department considerably, and I also think it would benefit the city budget and the general fund budget. On the whole, it seems like a prudent and perhaps even necessary thing.”

Councilmember Scott Whelpley said even though he’s been a “stickler” about raising taxes in Mukilteo, he too believes this levy is a necessity.

“I’ve supported this from the very beginning, and I think we need to do this,” he said.

Whelpley also said he sees this as a “lifeline” that’s helping keep the city afloat for another year.

“Getting those additional funds and revenues coming in, there’s going to be some other places we have to look carefully at that we basically need to eliminate, alleviate, whatever you want to call it, or reduce,” he said.

Whelpley also said he believes the citizens of Mukilteo will strongly support it.

After discussion, the motion passed unanimously, and the measure will be on the Aug. 7 Primary ballot.

 

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