Emergency Medical Services Levy

Ready, when you need them most.

For 30 years, the community has supported emergency medical services in the Upper Valley. This February, Cascade Medical will ask for your support once again to ensure that you will always have an ambulance and emergency department ready when you need them most. 

This measure is a continuation of the levy that passed with 82 percent approval in 2012. It's the same 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for another six-year term.

The Emergency Department provides care for more than 3,200 visits a year, most of which are locals. The three most common diagnoses are chest pain, respiratory infections, and head injuries. When seconds count, proximity is everything.

Taking the ED to the field, the Ambulance Service responds to 1,000 calls a year from all corners of our 1,200 square-mile district, from the summit of Blewett Pass to the summit of Stevens. Our crews provide both basic and advanced life support.

The cost of operating emergency services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year are high, and these services are not self-supporting. At 26 percent of the EMS budget, the levy is critical to maintain these services.

If you have a question that is not addressed here, please send us your question through our Contact Us page.

Is this a new tax?

No. This is a renewal of the existing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy. Renewing the levy will maintain the same services at the same rate for another six years.

How much will this cost?

The voted rate has stayed the same for more than 15 years at 50 cents per $1,000 of the assessed value of your property. For a home assessed at $250,000, the cost would continue to be about $125 a year, or about $10.42 a month.

If my property value doubles, will the amount I pay for this levy double?

No. By law, funds generated by the levy cannot increase more than one percent per year. If your property value increases by more than that, you'll pay less per thousand. That's why taxpayers often see the levy rate decrease to 46-48 cents per thousand by the end of the six-year term.

What if I live on a fixed income?

If you’re age 62 or older, or have a disability, you may qualify for a tax exemption. Call Chelan County Assessor’s Office at 509-667-6365 for more information.

What are the voting requirements?

At least 50 percent of the votes must approve the measure in order for Cascade Medical to continue providing emergency medical services in the Upper Valley.

What if the levy fails?

Billing for EMS services covers about 60 percent of the the operating cost. Cascade Medical already subsidizes 13 percent of the budget with revenue from other departments. We could not cover another $1,110,000 (26 percent of the EMS budget) if the levy failed. The levy is necessary to continue these services in the Upper Valley.

Who uses these services?

Most emergency department patients are local. More than half (52 percent) are full-time residents. Tourists are 25 percent of our patients. Part-time residents are about 10 percent of our ED patients. Friends or family of full-time residents are also about 10 percent of our total ED patients.