City of Clarkston voters decide EMS Tax Levy continuation of services

CLARKSTON, WA - We are now only three weeks away from the General Election, when Asotin County voters have an EMS Tax Levy to vote on.

KLEW News learns more about what the tax would do, should people vote it in.

It's a levy that goes up for vote every year to help fund the ambulance service in the city of Clarkston. And just like year's past, the fire chief said they need your vote for the tax on property to keep their services going.

"Without the levy we would lack the funding to provide ambulance service as we provide it today," said Clarkston Fire Dept. Chief, Steve Cooper.

Cooper said the Emergency Management Service operates because of three legs of funding. User fees, money from the city's current expense fund and finally the levy. In 2013 the levy brought in $512,000. Next year Cooper said they're asking for about $50,000 more next year due to several reasons.

"Part of that is some contractual obligations we have for personnel costs, part of it preparing for moving heavy patients," said Cooper. "We're seeking to purchase power-lift gurneys that protects firefighters' backs from injury."

Without a passing vote for the levy, the EMS service wouldn't be able to operate next year.

"There's an obvious demand for ambulance services in Clarkston and throughout the Valley," said Cooper. "The numbers of calls that we respond to have increased over 400 from 2010."

If the measure passes, Chief Cooper estimates it'll be a 1.29% tax on assessed property value.