Commissioners to Discuss Levy for Franklin Co. Fire District 3 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Commissioners to Discuss Levy for Franklin Co. Fire District 3 EMS

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PASCO, Wash. - The Board of Fire Commissioners for Franklin County Fire District 3 will hold a public meeting next week to discuss putting the levy to continue funding for emergency medical services up for a vote. 

The board will discuss letting voters decide at a meeting on Tuesday, June 25th, at 6 PM, at 2108 Road 84, in Pasco. Commissioners encourage the public to attend and comment. 

The board says EMS calls in Fire District 3 have increased by nearly 10% in the past five years, representing a majority of all emergencies for the district.

In May, the district's Citizen Advisory Committee unanimously recommended that Fire Commissioners ask voters to approve a 32-cent levy lid lift to continue funding for the EMS program. 

Fire Chief Litzenberger says Fire District 3 can provide a basic EMS program more cost-effectively than any other emergency provider in the area. He says the public should also have a say in how their money is spent.

In the past, Fire District 3 contracted with the City of Pasco, and would assist on emergency medical calls. When the city announced a 500% increase in contract fees for the district, Fire Commissioners decided to start their own basic EMS program.

The lid lift would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $5.33 per month ($64 per year) in addition to the district's regular fire levy that property owners already pay. The funds pay for ambulances, medical supplies, equipment, training, and wages for firefighters, who are also emergency medical technicians. 

If voters don't continue the program in the fall, Fire District 3's EMS program will end in February of 2014. If the lid lift passes, the county would begin collecting the levy in 2014.

Franklin County Fire District 3 provides firefighting, fire prevention, and emergency medical service, to approximately 6,000 people over 150 square miles outside the city limits of Pasco. The fire district relies on almost 50 volunteer and five full-time firefighters and emergency medical technicians.