North County Fire/EMS seeking input on upcoming levy renewal

ARLINGTON — The North County Regional Fire Authority will be holding two public meetings regarding its upcoming emergency medical services levy renewal.

Fire Chief Dale Fulfs will host both meetings, which take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21 at Fire Station 90 (3002 252nd Street NE, Arlington) and on Thursday, July 29 at Fire Station 97 (19727 Marine Dr., Stanwood).

In August, voters will determine whether they want to continue funding the expiring levy beyond 2010.

Officials will place the measure on the Aug. 17 primary election ballot, and if approved, the levy would charge taxpayers 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to maintain the authority's current level of service.

That levy rate would cost homeowners of a $300,000 home $12.50 per month, or $150 per year, for emergency services, officials said.

We have one of the largest service areas for a fire district in Snohomish County,” Fulfs said in May. “This EMS levy makes sure that we can have fighters (and) paramedics ready to respond 24 hours a day at key locations within the 104 square miles that we serve.”

Fulfs has said that officials postponed their EMS levy renewal in 2009 because of the economy, but the levy can't wait any longer.

The new levy would unite all residents served by North County into one levy schedule, meaning that taxpayer costs would not vary by their location.

Earlier this month, North County's Board of Commissioners passed a contingency plan if the levy does not pass.

That plan, approved unanimously by the Board, would end paramedic services for all residents should the levy fail. Fire officials said that response times could also increase.

"No one likes to think about these things, but it's important to be prepared," Fulfs said. "We will do what the voters want because we work for them."

North County serves more than 15,000 residents in Bryant, Freeborn and Warm Beach.

The levy would require a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

For more information, call 360-652-1246 or e-mail

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