A Mukilteo firefighter waves out of a fire truck. (Photo provided by Mukilteo Fire Department)

A Mukilteo firefighter waves out of a fire truck. (Photo provided by Mukilteo Fire Department)

EMS levy lift would increase tax bill $200 for average Mukilteo house

A measure rejected by voters in 2023 is back. “We’re getting further and further behind as we go through the days,” Fire Chief Glen Albright said.

MUKILTEO — On the ballot is a $1.7 million question.

That is the additional amount the proposed levy lift annually would pump into Mukilteo’s emergency medical services.

On Monday, the Mukilteo City Council voted 6-1 to place a resolution for an EMS levy lift renewal on the Aug. 6 ballot.

If approved by voters, it would be at the rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, starting in 2025. Property taxes would increase about $200 annually for a homeowner of the average Mukilteo house valued at $839,000.

In 2023, the city’s EMS temporary levy lid lift at a 40-cent rate failed, with 59% voting against the ballot measure.

Yet the current proposed increase is higher, this time to renew the previously approved rate of 50 cents per $1,000, approved in 2010. The rate fluctuates, generally downward, based on property values. It is now at about 28 cents.

“If you’re going to lift it, go back to the full 50, not just 40,” Mayor Joe Marine told The Daily Herald. “Not just keep coming back for 10 cents, 20 cents.”

The current EMS levy rate is $231 for the average property tax bill. That same homeowner would pay $420 in 2025, if the proposed rate is passed.

The current rate will bring in $2.04 million in 2024. The proposed 50 cents rate is projected to increase that figure to $3.71 million, based on the current assessed valuation. That’s nearly $1.7 million more a year for EMS funds.

“Since 2015, our call load has increased by approximately 15%,” Fire Chief Glen Albright said at Monday’s meeting. “We’re getting further and further behind as we go through the days.”

Albright suggested the money could be used to fund six more firefighters, training, equipment and medical supplies.

At a March work session, the City Council discussed the proposed ballot measure and solicited residents for both pro and con committees.

Three people applied for each committee to write statements for the voters’ pamphlet. Each side also writes a rebuttal to the other’s statement.

The council on Monday unanimously approved the applicants, which included three council members, who act as residents on the committee, not as elected officials.

Steve Schmalz, the sole council member who opposed putting the measure on the ballot, is on the con committee, along with Kevin Stoltz, a former council member, and resident Sabrina Otness. Council members Richard Emery and Michael Dixon, along with resident Dave Dundon-Harris, are on the pro committee.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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