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CKFR to ask voters for EMS levy lid lift

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR) will ask voters to raise its emergency medical services (EMS) levy in May.

The EMS levy is a renewal of an existing tax and would reauthorize the collection of 50 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property valuation if approved by voters in a May 19 election.

CKFR spokeswoman Theresa MacLennan said the 2009 levy rate is 32 cents and fire officials predict it will be at 39 cents per one thousand dollars of assessed property value in 2010. If the EMS levy is approved by voters, it would go back up to 50 cents.

“We estimate based on figures from the Kitsap County Assessor’s Office,” MacLennan said.

The cost to homeowners varies based on each home’s assessed value. The cost to a homeowner with a home assessed at $232,000 would be an additional $25.52 per year in property tax under the levy lift.

The last levy lift was approved by nearly 83 percent of voters in 2004. The current six-year levy doesn’t expire until 2010, but CKFR is asking to renew the levy one year early to meet the fire district’s long-term goals.

Money collected from the EMS levy makes up nearly 17 percent, or $2.8 million, of CKFR’s budget. MacLennan said it is used to maintain the level of EMS services currently provided by CKFR by funding paramedics’ salaries and purchasing and maintaining supplies and emergency vehicles.

“We have no new hires or new stations planned with this levy,” she said.

The Kitsap County Auditor will mail ballots to voters April 29. Completed ballots must be dropped off at the county auditor’s office or mailed back with a postmark no later than May 19.

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