It’s no mystery that Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians have been very busy the last two years. We were the first fire agency to treat COVID-19 patients in Clark County, and that’s a small percentage of overall medical calls to which we respond. Out of the 8,353 calls that we responded to in 2021, a whopping 87% were emergency medical calls.
The growth rate for Clark County has increased about 19% since 2010. To provide some perspective of that growth, in 2017 responded to 7114 emergency calls, versus 8,353 last year. We expect that number to grow in 2022 and beyond.
This is not a new levy.
Daily operations at Fire District 6 are funded through two levies paid through property taxes. The amounts are capped at the voter-approved rates of $1.50 for Fire and $0.50 cents for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) per $1,000 of assessed property value. Over time these levy rates fall as property values rise to limit the Fire District to the same amount of revenue per year, plus a one percent increase allowed by law. Our EMS Levy levels have dropped to $0.34 per $1,000 of assessed value. We are asking to restore it to the original amount of $0.45 per $1,000 of assessed value. By law we could ask for $0.50., but we’re only going to ask for what we need.
Our EMS levy will expire if not renewed by voters.
Voters last renewed funding for our EMS program in 2016, and that EMS levy will expire at the end of the year if not approved. If not approved the District would lose 24 EMS providers out of 71 line personnel. Our Board of Commissioners is planning on asking voters to renew the EMS levy on the August 2nd, 2022 Primary Election ballot.
How would the money be spent?
The EMS levy helps us provide Basic Life Support with Firefighter/EMTs and Advanced Life Support with Paramedics. Funds are used for emergency personnel, training and certifications, maintenance, medical equipment, first aid supplies, personal protection equipment (especially for COVID-19), and equipment replacement. And not all of our COVID-related expenses are reimbursed by the Federal Government.
Didn’t you just ask for a levy renewal?
This can be confusing, because several fire districts and departments in Clark County have recently requested levy lid lifts this year. For instance, Vancouver Fire just passed a new levy of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed value. We are asking an $0.11 per $1,000 increase bringing the total EMS amount to $0.45 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Clark County Fire District 6 provides fire protection and emergency medical service to roughly 70,000 people over 37 square miles. We serve citizens in the following neighborhoods: Hazel Dell, Lake Shore, Felida, Salmon Creek, Mt. Vista, and the Fairgrounds. Our emergency personnel responded to 8,353 calls last year with compassion and professionalism. Fire District 6 operates under a balanced budget and has passed all its independent audits by the State.