Early returns show Arlington's EMS levy passing

ARLINGTON — Although the released results of the April 26 special election remain unofficial, supporters of the city of Arlington's proposed permanent emergency medical services levy are encouraged by what they've seen so far.

As of 8 p.m. on April 26, the city of Arlington's Proposition 1 had received 2,683 "yes" votes, or 84.42 percent of the votes counted, and 495 "no" votes, or 15.58 percent of the votes counted. From Fire District 21, Proposition 1 had received 1,437 "yes" votes, or 79.44 percent of the votes counted, and 372 "no" votes, or 20.56 percent of the votes counted. This exceeds the minimum turnout numbers of 2,435 for the city and 1,504 for the fire district, as well as the 60 percent minimum for the "yes" vote, in order for the proposition to pass. The Snohomish County Elections Division had counted 4,987 ballots, or 34.78 percent of the 14,338 ballots that were mailed out, at that time.

Arlington Fire Chief Bruce Stedman thanked and congratulated the community for making what he deemed "the right decision in continuing this vital service."

"In these financially difficult times, it can be easy to say no to any form of taxes, even at the expense of the public's safety, which did not happen," said Stedman, who echoed Barbara Tolbert in crediting the success of this EMS levy campaign to the firefighters, their families and the other community members who volunteered "countless hours getting the message out about what was at stake, and explaining all of the facts."

Tolbert, who served as campaign manager for the levy on the Nov. 2 and April 26 ballots, explained that 82 volunteers, including six team leaders, rang 7,738 doorbells, made 2,435 phone calls, mailed 6,800 postcards, conducted 22 community presentations, put together and put up 550 signs, received 150 endorsements from business and other community leaders, garnered 270 Facebook friends and got 18 pieces in the media.

"I'm humbled, proud and ecstatic," Tolbert said. "This really is a community effort. Our volunteers were out on doorsteps in the worst, wettest, coldest spring I can remember, and the community has given itself a benefit for years to come. Our EMS crews' motto is that they'll be there, any time and anywhere, and this levy ensures that they always will be."

Updated results will be released at 5 p.m. on April 27.

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