BallotboxWEBSan Juan Island EMS will seek a replacement 6 year levy on the November 21014 general election ballot. Property values have dropped since the existing levy was passed. By the end of 2016, the estimated tax revenue loss to EMS will be $2.6M. This shortfall necessitated significant cuts to this year’s EMS budget. Unless revenue is stabilized by this levy increase, future losses will require additional cuts.

The current levy rate is 35 cents per thousand of assessed property value. Increasing the levy rate to 50 cents per thousand will replace some of the lost revenue due to declining property values and changes in insurance coverage. If passed, this levy would replace the remaining two years of the current six year levy, and allow stable funding for personnel, ambulances, equipment, and overall EMS operations for an additional six years, taking effect in 2015.

The levy funds about 1/3 of the total EMS budget and provides the equipment and training for our rescue professionals available 24/7/365 with no out-of-pocket billing expenses to District residents.

The EMS levy only supports San Juan Island EMS, and NOT the hospital or the hospital’s emergency department. It is solely for EMS services.

If you would like more information please contact Commissioner Lenore Bayuk at 360-378-2856 or email bayuk@sjcphd.org.

 

Questions and Answers

1. What is an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy? An EMS levy is a property tax that pays for emergency medical help. The EMS levy supports San Juan Island EMS, and NOT the hospital or the hospital’s emergency department. It is solely for EMS services.  While many junior taxing districts have permanent levies, voters have not approved permanent funding to sustain essential EMS services. Therefore, the EMS levy must be renewed every six years, an expensive and uncertain process.

 

2. What areas comprise San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 (SJCPHD#1)?  San Juan Island, plus Henry, Speiden, Stuart, Johns, Brown, and Pearl Islands form District #1. Its boundaries coincide with those of the San Juan Island EMS district, but the EMS agency is distinct from the hospital. Voting YES indicates your support for San Juan Island EMS only, and NOT the hospital.

 

3. Why do we need a new levy before the current one expires? The current levy rate is 35 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value. Property values have dropped since the existing levy was passed. Increasing the levy rate to 50 cents per thousand will partially replace the revenue lost over the past four years due to declining property values. If passed, this levy would replace the remaining two years of the current six year levy, and allow stable funding for personnel, ambulances, equipment, and overall EMS operations. It would take effect in 2015.

 

4. Why does EMS need to increase its levy? In past years, property values were higher, resulting in more taxes paid to support EMS (even though the levy rate was lower—at 35 cents). This shortfall necessitated significant cuts to this year’s EMS budget. By the end of 2016, the estimated tax revenue loss to EMS will be $2.6M. Unless revenue is stabilized by this levy increase, future losses will require additional cuts.

 

5. How much will the levy cost the taxpayer? This levy requests 50 cents per thousand dollars of a property’s assessed value. It would result in a maximum EMS tax of $100 per year for property valued at $200,000.

 

6. What does this levy afford District Residents?

  • Professional EMTs and Paramedics available 24/7/365
  • On-going medical training for these professional responders allowing for the highest quality of patient care and transport, with no out-of-pocket billing expenses
  • Ground, marine, and air response with no membership fees or out of pocket expenses. You insurance will be billed.
  • Comprehensive Community Education/Prevention Programs including CPR, First Aid, AEDs, free helmets and car seats.

 

7. When will this new levy end? This six year levy would extend from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2020. It is not a permanent levy.

 

8. How many votes does the levy need to pass?  To pass, the levy needs 60% or more.

 

9. What happens if the levy does not pass?  The existing levy does not cover current service costs. If this levy does not pass, our EMS will continue to operate until the end of 2016, although some services may be reduced, or residents may be charged for EMS services not covered by insurance.

 

10. Are we charged now for EMS assistance? Residents of the EMS district currently pay no out-of-pocket expenses for services, including medevac flights on Island Air Ambulance. Your insurance company will be billed.

 

PLEASE DO NOT CONFUSE SAN JUAN ISLAND EMS WITH

PEACEHEALTH PEACE ISLAND MEDICAL CENTER.

THIS LEVY IS ONLY FOR San Juan Island EMS!