Fire, emergency medical service levies before voters

MILL CREEK — Some Snohomish County cities plan to introduce revised fire and emergency medical service levies on the November ballot.

Two levies are slated for a slight increase, while one will remain the same.

Levies are the primary source of revenue for fire departments.

Mill Creek proposed an increase of the EMS levy, which is set to expire after six years, city spokeswoman Kelly Chelin said. The city is seeking 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. That represents a 5 cent increase over the current rate. A similar levy narrowly failed in the August primary election.

If the new measure passes, the owner of a $400,000 home would pay about $200 per year. The levy would be in effect for another six years.

Chelin said the increase is due to rising costs in the city’s annual contract with Fire District 7, which provides fire and emergency medical staffing to Mill Creek.

“If the levy doesn’t pass, the city will have to reduce EMS service levels,” Chelin said.

The measure needs 60 percent voter approval to pass.

Meanwhile, Woodway is seeking an increase for its emergency services and town operations levy for the first time in seven years, officials said.

The levy helps pay for the police department and the town’s contract with the Shoreline Fire Department, as well as town departments, including roads.

The proposed increase would bring the levy to $2.48 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The owner of a $1 million home would pay approximately $2,480 a year. That represents about a $500 annual increase from the current rate. The Woodway measure requires 50 percent approval to pass.

Also in south county, Fire District 1 requested a renewal of the levy voters approved in 2008. It seeks $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. If the levy does not pass, the rate will automatically reduce to $1.41 per $1,000. The proposed levy would cost the owner of a $350,000 home about $525 annually, according to Fire District 1 spokeswoman Leslie Hynes.

Fire District 1, with headquarters in south Everett, serves Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and unincorporated southwest county.

The revenue would fund around-the-clock staffing at fire stations, as well as emergency medical response and firefighter training, Fire Commissioner Jim McGaughey said. It also would cover rig maintenance and replacement.

Reporter Rikki King contributed to this story.

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