South County Politics: EMS levy on August ballot

Voters in Lynnwood and in the nearby unincorporated areas covered by the South County Fire and Rescue Regional Fire Authority will see a tax-levy measure on their Aug. 7 primary election ballots.

It would be a single levy to replace one in the City of Lynnwood and one in unincorporated areas of the former Snohomish County Fire District 1.

Voters in the city and the fire district voted last year to form the regional fire authority.

There is no organized opposition to the proposal.

Here’s what will appear in voters’ pamphlets that Snohomish County will send in July:

South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue RFA

The proposal is for a property tax of 50 cents or less per $1,000 assessed value. If approved, it would replace two existing voter-approved EMS levies collected by Lynnwood and Snohomish County Fire District 1 with a single EMS levy paid to South County Fire.

Proposition No. 1

Emergency Medical Services Property Tax Levy


Will the South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue Regional Fire Authority be authorized to impose regular property tax levies of $0.50 or less per $1,000.00 of assessed valuation for each of ten consecutive years beginning in 2018, and for such levies to supersede the existing emergency medical services levies of the city of Lynnwood and Fire District 1, to provide funding for emergency medical services?


In August 2017, voters in the City of Lynnwood and Snohomish County Fire District 1 formed a regional fire authority, known as South County Fire, to Improve emergency services.

That vote funded South County Fire with a fire levy of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The next step calls for replacing two existing levies for emergency medical service (EMS) levied separately by the City and the Fire District with a single, uniform EMS levy paid to South County Fire.

The EMS levy would be capped at SO-cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, the same amount approved by voters before in both the City and Fire District.

Emergency call volumes have increased 34 percent in the last five years. EMS accounts for 85% of all calls. More calls mean added costs for personnel, apparatus, maintenance, medical supplies and equipment. Funding also will be used to purchase and staff another ambulance to respond during peak call times.

Approving an EMS levy of 50 cents will maintain emergency service levels and continue both basic and advanced life support-the highest standard of care possible for area residents.

Pro Statement

Vote Yes on Proposition 1.

In 2017, the voters in Lynnwood and Fire District 1 approved a plan forming a regional fire authority to improve service for area residents.  The regional fire authority is called South County Fire (SCF).  Proposition 1 will restore funding for SCF to ensure excellent emergency medical service (EMS).

EMS saves lives. Paul Marquez’s life was saved by the quick work of our paramedics. Paul worked at Boeing, and one night at home in Silver Firs he had a heart attack. The paramedics arrived quickly, gave him medications, and rushed him to the hospital. They were able to save Paul from heart damage and certain death. That was 13 years ago, and Paul is now living a full life playing with his grandchildren and volunteering at their schools.

The paramedics in the EMS program are here to serve you, just as they did Paul. 85% of SCF’s calls for service are for EMS. Call volume has increased 34 % in the last 5 years.  We need more personnel to meet this demand.

Proposition 1 would restore the EMS levy rate to 50 cents per $1000 of assessed property value, the same amount previously approved by voters. The levy dollars will go to protect the high level of service we expect from our EMS. The Journal of Emergency Medical Services recently recognized our program as a top innovator. EMS saved Paul’s life, and it could save yours, or someone dear to you. To learn more visit

Jim Kenny, M. Christopher Boyer, and Paul P. Marquez

Con Statement

After repeated recruitment attempts, no volunteers against the ballot measure came forward to write a statement.

–By Evan Smith        

Evan Smith can be reached at

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