The Emergency Services Levy
Call volumes are estimated to continue to increase by 7% per year.
We strive to provide the best care to the most people with the resources that we have available. We currently staff 2 ambulance 24 hours a day, adding additional positions would improve response to outlying areas, decrease our reliance on mutual aid partners, and increase our availability for multiple overlapping 911 calls.
On June 10, 2019 the Board of Commissioners for the Skamania County Public Hospital District adopted Resolution 2019-07, placing on the general election ballot a proposition authorizing Skamania EMS and Rescue to impose a regular emergency services levy of $0.50 per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value.
If approved by voters, this levy would replace our existing levy of $0.25 per $1,000 which is set to expire in December 2021; and increase revenue by approximately $450,000.
This levy would provide funding to advance Skamania EMS and Rescue’s entire service in three specific ways:
- Improve response capabilities by adding two staff members (1 Paramedic, 1 EMT) within the next eighteen months;
- Replace aging ambulances, medical, rescue and information technology equipment based on program needs and industry recommendations;
- Provide a financial foundation that allows our agency to address the current needs and expected growth of our communities.
Future Needs and Community Growth
We remain committed to serving our communities, and are dedicated to building the framework for continued success and prolonged service. Funding from this levy will support our current apparatus replacement schedule, necessary medical and rescue equipment purchase and replacement, and personnel management. We pride ourselves in our ability to efficiently support our operations while keeping the safety of our patients and providers in mind.
Come see us at any of our three Community Meetings:
September 17th 6-8pm in Stevenson
October 3rd 6-8pm in Underwood
October 8th 6-8pm in Washougal
Frequently Asked Questions
How will Skamania EMS and Rescue use the additional funds if the levy is approved?
The additional $0.25 will be used in the following ways:
Personnel Management– 12 full-time operational employees staff two (2) ambulances, 24/7.
This model reduces and eliminates inconsistencies, but we struggle to address third out calls. 2 additional employees will help to cover the overlapping third out calls. 46%
Apparatus Management – preparing for and deploying a replacement schedule based on current use, safety and maintenance costs, we maintain operational efficiency of our fleet. These costs will grow as call volume increases 33%
Medical Equipment— Progressive medical care and medical advancements require the purchasing and replacement of necessary equipment. 11%
Rescue Equipment— A purchasing and replacement schedule considerate of current use, safety and maintenance costs is established that takes in to account equipment trade in and maintenance expense. 8%
Information Technology (IT) equipment– Planning for the replacement of aging technology to improve upon the efficient delivery of health care. 2%
Skamania EMS and Rescue does bill for their services. But, did you know that residents of Skamania County will not be balance billed if they use our services? This means, we will bill your insurance and any portion of the costs that they do not cover are waived by us.
Additionally, in January of 2019 our agency began charging for rescue services (e.g. trail and rope rescues). These practices are one way in which we hope to lessen the burden on taxpayers.
How busy is Skamania EMS and Rescue?
We respond to 1,400 + calls per year. In 2018, we were dispatched 1,596 times and had 1,545 patient contacts. 846 resulted in transports.
How is Skamania EMS and Rescue currently funded?
Primary sources of income include property taxes and fees for service. Collections from property tax represent approximately 61% of our annual revenue, with ambulance service fees accounting for 27%. Donations, grants, public education fees and other taxes (such as Private Harvest Tax) account for the remaining 12% of our revenue.
How much will this levy cost me?
It depends on the value of your home. For example, if your home and property is valued at $300,00, you currently pay $69.39 on our EMS Levy per year. If the new levy is approved by voters you will pay $150.00 on our EMS Levy per year. This is an increase of $80.61.
Those numbers (above) are just for the EMS Levy. What would be the total tax paid by me if this proposition passes?
Current levies authorized by voters in Skamania County include a permanent Hospital District Levy ($0.46/per $1,000) and a six-year EMS Levy ($0.23/per $1,000). The latter levy is what would be replaced. If voters approve our proposition on the November general election ballot, and your home is valued at $300,000, your tax bill for Skamania EMS and Rescue would calculate like this: $138.16 (Permanent Levy) + $150.00 (6 Year EMS Levy) = $288.16. ($24.01/month)
5 Year Projection
The State of Washington projects that through the next few decades the population of State residents 65 years and older will increase significantly. This is a result of decreased mortality and the post-World War II ‘Baby Boomer’ generation born throughout 1946-1964 maturing*. The chart to the right shows the steady increase of the aging population and the projected course of Skamania County EMS and Rescue calls from 2019-2023. Additionally, without an increase in funding, it identifies the staffing levels of Skamania County EMS through the same time period.
A higher call volume without additional personnel to staff the community’s needs could lead to a decrease in service for those in need.
*Information obtained from ofm.wa.gov