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Voters show support for EMS levy

August 8, 2018

Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (from left), Renata Maybruck and Emergency Medical Services Director Jeff Sargent react after looking over the EMS levy results Tuesday at the Skagit County Elections Department.

MOUNT VERNON — The emergency medical services levy is on track for approval, according to early results from Tuesday’s primary election.

As of the first ballot count, 66 percent of voters are in support of the EMS levy, with 34 percent voting against it.

“I’m excited that voters trust us to build a comprehensive (ambulance) response system,” said EMS Director Jeff Sargent.

The county’s ambulance system is primarily funded through the EMS levy.

The six-year EMS levy would see property owners pay 44 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value. This is an increase from the current rate of 37.5 cents per $1,000.

The increase equates to $17 per year for a $262,000 home — the county’s median home value.

In the lead-up to the vote, Sargent said a higher rate is needed to support the current level of care in the county.

Emergency calls are increasing throughout the county, but insurance reimbursements are decreasing, he said.

There were 16,600 ballots counted, and about 10,000 remain.

If the results hold and an increased levy is approved, Sargent said the extra money will help his department implement improvements to the system, such as using mapping data to route ambulances more effectively, community health efforts, and supporting city fire departments.

Additionally, the county has begun the process of transferring the ambulance system to the four city fire departments, and Sargent said voters’ support shows him he’s moving on the right track.

“There’s still a ton of work to do,” Sargent said.

County Commissioners Lisa Janicki said she appreciated the voters’ support and enthusiasm.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “This allows us to move forward with the certainty of support from the community.”

An updated ballot count is expected later this week, according to the county Elections Department.

Results of the election will be certified Aug. 24.

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