Franklin Fire District 3 commissioners will consider asking voters to approve a 32-cent property tax levy lid lift to pay for emergency medical services.
Without new funding, fire Chief Les Litzenberger said the district no longer will be able to provide basic EMS service after February 2014.
District 3 began providing its own basic EMS after the city of Pasco announced that the cost for Pasco to provide EMS to the district would increase by about 500 percent and the district's EMS levy failed last fall.
A citizens advisory committee -- made up of proponents and opponents of the last EMS levy effort -- is unanimously recommending the board of fire commissioners consider placing a 32-cent levy lid lift on the November ballot.
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The increase would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $5.33 more per month, or $64 more per year.
A simple majority is needed to pass a levy lid lift, while an EMS levy needs a 60 percent majority to pass.
A levy lid lift would increase total revenue the fire district could collect from property taxes beyond the allowed 1 percent increase and revenue generated by new construction.
If approved by a simple majority of voters, the increased amount would become the base for future years.
Basic EMS means that the district's emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are providing basic life support and ambulance transportation, Litzenberger said. About 90 percent of the district's medical calls can be covered by skilled EMTs.
Medical calls are making up about 58 percent of the district's call volume so far this year, he said. EMS calls have increased by about 10 percent.
The district has about 25 EMTs, Litzenberger said. And more volunteers are responding now because they actually get to provide life support, where before Pasco paramedics handled that.
Money from the tax increase will help pay for ambulances, medical supplies, equipment, training and wages for firefighters, who also are EMTs. Litzenberger said the district has a few more people interested in becoming EMTs.
The district's board will discuss the increase at its June 25 meeting and then will consider voting on whether to place the measure on the November ballot at its July 9 meeting. Both 5 p.m. meetings will be at 2108 N. Road 84, in Pasco.
Those who can't attend can comment by sending a letter to the same address or emailing Litzenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fire district serves the doughnut hole and Franklin County north of Pasco city limits to about Sagemoor Road.