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Skagit residents will vote in April on levy funding emergency services

Property owners would see a tax increase in 2025

Skagit County voters will likely cast ballots in April for a renewed emergency medical services levy.
Skagit County voters will cast ballots in April for a renewed emergency medical services levy. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
By Ralph Schwartz Local Government Reporter

A property tax to fund emergency medical services (EMS) will appear on a special-election ballot, April 23 in Skagit County.

Voters will be asked to approve a 47-cent tax on $1,000 of assessed property value, or $258.50 annually on a $550,000 home. If approved, the measure would replace the previous EMS levy, which was collected at a rate of 44 cents per $1,000, starting in 2019. The rate has fallen steadily since then and stood at 31.6 cents in 2023.

Fire officials at a Jan. 22 public hearing before the Skagit County commissioners suggested they put a 50-cent levy rate on the ballot — the maximum allowed by state law. Commissioners on Monday, Jan. 29 voted to stick to the original proposal of 47 cents.

“It’s a bit of an increase in actual rate (compared to the current levy), but it’s still necessary to have non-interruption of services,” Commissioner Lisa Janicki said at a Jan. 29 meeting.

If approved, the new levy would pick up where the old one left off, starting in 2025. The tax dollars would continue to be spent on training for paramedics and emergency medical technicians, equipment, ambulance maintenance and replacement, and fuel, EMS Director Josh Pelonio told commissioners on Jan. 22.

The number of EMS calls has increased by 25% over the past four years, Pelonio said.

Ralph Schwartz is CDN’s local government reporter; reach him at ralphschwartz@cascadiadaily.com; 360-922-3090 ext. 107.

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