Granite Falls, Tulalip seek EMS renewals

By Rikki King, The Herald

GRANITE FALLS — Fire districts in Granite Falls and Tulalip are asking voters to approve permanent emergency medical services levies to replace existing six-year levies.

The matters are on the November general election ballot.

Both levies would draw 50 cents per $1,000 of property value, or $100 for the owner of a $200,000 house.

“I just want to make sure that the voters understand that this is a renewal of the EMS levy at the same rate and not a new tax and not an increase in tax,” Granite Falls Fire Chief Jim Haverfield said.

His district is seeking the permanent levy in part to save on election costs for running a new levy every six years. That can cost up to $45,000 per election, he said.

Most fire districts in Snohomish County have permanent medical services levies, Haverfield said.

The EMS levy makes up about a quarter of the district’s annual revenues. At the same time, medical calls make up roughly 75 percent of their emergency calls.

“That is pretty significant,” Haverfield said. “Not having the EMS levy would have a dire consequence on our emergency service.”

If approved, the Granite Falls levy would generate an estimated $480,000 a year. The money would be used for staffing, supplies, rig maintenance and public outreach.

The Granite Falls district serves about 12,000 people over 38 square miles, including the city of Granite Falls.

A public meeting about the levy is planned for 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Granite Falls Fire Station, 116 S. Granite Ave.