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South Whidbey Fire/EMS pushes for lid lift
South Whidbey Fire/EMS has a 15-cent levy lid lift on the November General Election ballot to support its volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician program. If passed, this would be the first voter-approved funding increase for the fire district in 23 years.
“Our levy rate has fallen to the point where we can no longer maintain emergency service levels for our community,” said Fire Chief Rusty Palmer. “This lid lift will help restore funding for safety equipment and apparatus that our volunteers need to respond to fire and medical calls.”
In 1989, voters approved $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. Since that time, the fire district’s levy rate has fallen to 61 cents. If approved, the levy rate would be 76 cents, or an additional $2.50 per month for the owner of a $200,000 home.
Chief Palmer said South Whidbey Fire/EMS’ levy rate is the lowest in the county, in part, because the fire district relies on more than 75 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians to respond to 911 calls. Without the volunteers, the fire district would need to hire 21 full-time emergency personnel at an annual cost of $1.15 million.
Residents with questions about the levy are encouraged to contact Chief Palmer personally at 360-321-1533 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6 to count in this year’s General Election. For information, visit swfe.org.