ASOTIN, WA -- City of Asotin voters are just days away from voting on a levy to provide EMS services to its residents.
Asotin County Fire District 1 has been responding to the city of Asotin for medical emergencies for years now. It has been funded through a tax on city residents but that tax expired in December, leaving questions about the future of emergency coverage.
"This is a huge vote. It means and could mean the difference between life and death on getting someone to your doorstep,” said Fire Chief Noel Hardin, Asotin County Fire District 1.
This coming Tuesday, February 12, the city of Asotin voters will be voting on whether to approve or reject an EMS levy.
"It's for quick response and paramedic level ambulance to show up at your door when you need it,” said Chief Hardin.
While the levy is up for a vote, Asotin County Fire District 1 Chief, Noel Hardin, says it’s nothing new.
“The only difference from this one from what they've been paying in the past is that we are asking to take away the expiration date,” Chief Hardin said.
Levies in Washington state are either six or ten years, or a lifetime period. Putting it at a lifetime levy provides a foundation for funding.
"It's maxed out at 50-cents a thousand. I know there were some questions about that it was going to raise 50-cents each year and that's not the case. It's 50-cents per thousand assessed value,” Hardin said.
Fire Chief Noel Hardin says all that money is dedicated to EMS response, and nothing else.
"A bare minimum price to provide a high-level service,” added Hardin.
Right now, the city of Asotin is paying for it through their general fund. But that’s just for this year.
"You could see some delayed services because you won't be seeing some of the quick responses you're seeing today,” said Chief Hardin.
The levy failure could mean life or death for some Asotin residents.
"Right now, you're seeing on average an ambulance at your doorstep in four to five minutes. It could be 10, 12 15 minutes down the road and that is a case of life or death for someone,” explained Chief Hardin.
Again, the Levy is proposing a 50-cent tax per $1,000 assessed property value in the city of Asotin.