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April 15, 2024

EMS Levy Renewal on April Special Election Ballot

The Skagit Board of County Commissioners has placed an emergency medical services (EMS) levy renewal on the April 23, 2024, special election ballot. The purpose of the ballot measure is to renew the levy at a sufficient rate to continue critical funding for 24-hour EMS response.

Ballots were mailed to voters in early April and must be postmarked by April 23, 2024, or placed in a ballot box by 8 p.m. on election day.

The EMS levy must be renewed by voters every six years, and the current levy is set to expire at the end of 2024. The EMS levy was last renewed by voters in 2018 at $0.44 per $1,000 assessed property value. Since then, the rate has dropped to $0.30. The levy renewal has been set at a rate of $0.47 to manage higher call volumes and costs to provide services.

If approved by voters, the $0.17 levy rate increase would fund:

  • Paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Medical education and training
  • Fuel
  • Equipment
  • Ambulance maintenance and replacement
  • Medical supplies

Skagit County EMS is a countywide EMS system providing 24/7 live-saving medical response and ambulance transport to area hospitals. Call volumes have increased by 25 percent in just four years, which is primarily due to the area’s growth and aging population.

Last year, Skagit County provider agencies responded to more than 18,000 calls and provided more than 9,200 ambulance transports to area hospitals. More calls mean higher costs for everything from medical supplies to emergency personnel to ambulance replacements. For example, the cost to replace aging ambulances is an average of $400,000 each.

The $0.17 levy rate increase would cost the owner of a $555,000 home (median assessed value) an additional $94.35 per year or $7.87 per month for 24-hour EMS response.

Learn more about the EMS levy at www.skagitcounty.net/EMSlevy or by contacting Skagit County EMS at 360-416-1830 or joshp@co.skagit.wa.us.