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To the Citizens of West Mason Fire



Dear Residents of West Mason Fire,

As your elected Board of Commissioners, we are committed to keeping you informed about important developments affecting our Fire District. We would like to provide an update regarding the outcome of the recent levy election held in November 2023.

The proposed EMS Levy, set at $.50 per $1000 of assessed property value, did not receive the required super-majority (60%) for approval, as mandated by State Law. The final tally stood at 58.56% in favor and 41.44% against. This outcome continues a trend observed over the past five years, where similar proposals have not secured the necessary support.

In light of these results, and in accordance with Washington State Law (RCW 52.12.131), we must reassess our approach to funding Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Historically, our residents have benefited from emergency medical response services without direct charges, with costs covered through transport fees billed to insurance companies. However, the repeated failure to pass the levy necessitates a reevaluation of our funding model to ensure the continued provision of these vital services.

We are considering various measures to address this funding shortfall. One such measure is the potential implementation of a fee for EMS responses. This fee, proposed at $250.00 per response, would apply to non-transport EMS calls, which are typically not covered by health insurance. This approach aims to cover the costs associated with EMS responses and prevent the subsidization of these services through our general fire protection funds.

Please note that this fee structure is a proposed measure and will not be implemented immediately. We plan to make one final attempt to pass the levy in April 2024. Should this attempt also fail, we may then proceed with the proposed response fee structure.

Furthermore, we are exploring the need to liquidate assets to invest in staffing. Our current model, heavily reliant on volunteer responders, is proving increasingly unsustainable. We are considering transitioning to a hybrid model of volunteer and paid staff to ensure adequate emergency service provision.

We will be holding a special public hearing to discuss these matters and the potential liquidation of equipment and real property assets. Your participation and input are crucial as we navigate these challenges and plan for the future of our Fire District.

We appreciate the support shown by the 58.56% of voters who favored the levy and recognize the importance of community involvement in these decisions. We remain committed to serving the best interests of our residents and ensuring the financial stability and operational efficacy of West Mason Fire.

 

Respectfully,


Commissioner Larry Taylor, Chair

Commissioner Dion Johnson

Commissioner Trevor Severance

 

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