• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma OpenData

EMS Levy Lid Lift on August 1 Primary Election Ballot

EMS Levy Lid Lift on August 1 Primary Election Ballot


July 26, 2023



Joe Meinecke, Tacoma Fire Department, jmeineck@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5176


EMS Levy Lid Lift on August 1 Primary Election Ballot


TACOMA, Wash. -- The City of Tacoma’s Proposition 1 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Property Tax Levy increase is on the August 1, 2023 primary election ballot.


Tacoma’s EMS permanent property tax levy was approved by voters in 2002 to fund EMS for Tacoma residents at a collection rate of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. However, over the years, property values have increased significantly faster than the levy collection rate, and state law limits the amount a city can increase the rate to 1% annually. As a result, the current collection rate has fallen to $0.28 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.


The City of Tacoma is seeking voter approval to restore its EMS levy back to $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2024, and maintain the levied amount for 2025-2029 not to exceed $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.


The revenue generated may only be used to provide EMS, including related personnel costs, training, equipment, and structures. It will fund adding additional emergency response resources to meet the growing demand for service. Finally, it will pay for the out-of-pocket ambulance transport costs to the Tacoma Fire Department for all residents of Tacoma. The average property owner (defined at $493,000) would pay an additional $9.04 per month in 2024 compared to 2023. The total annual cost for the same property is $246.50 per year for continued 24-hour emergency medical service. For more information, visit cityoftacoma.org/emslevy.




The Tacoma Fire Department provides fire suppression and the highest level of emergency medical care, Advanced Life Support (ALS), to approximately 240,000 residents and businesses, including Fife and Fircrest. The Tacoma Fire Department responded to almost 50,000 emergency calls in 2022. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) accounts for 80 percent of all calls. The Tacoma Fire Department was formed in 1880 and continues to evolve as a progressive and responsive public safety organization.