Camas EMS levy renewal passing by wide margin

Preliminary results show 76% of voters approving the 6-year, 46-cent levy renewal

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category icon Camas, Latest News, Public Safety
Emergency vehicles sit outside the Camas-Washougal Fire Department Fire Station 41 in downtown Camas in 2022. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record file photos)

Preliminary election results show the city of Camas’ emergency medical services (EMS) levy renewal is passing by wide margins as of 8:10 p.m. Tuesday, April 23. 

With 4,485 votes counted as of Election Night, Camas voters are approving the six-year levy renewal by a margin of more than three to one, with 3,401 votes (75.87%) in favor and 1,084 votes (24.17%) against. 

Clark County Elections will tally more ballots at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 24. 

The Camas City Council voted unanimously Feb. 20, to place the EMS levy renewal on the April 23 special election ballot. 

Voters were asked to say “yes” or “no” to renewing the City’s EMS levy at a rate of 46 cents per $1,000 assessed property value (APV) for an additional six years, beginning in 2025. 

Voters renewed the EMS levy at 46 cents per $1,000 APV in February 2018. 

Camas’ existing EMS levy, which also is set at 46 cents per $1,000 APV, will expire at the end of this year. 

Camas Finance Director Cathy Huber Nickerson said earlier this year that the Camas-Washougal Fire Department (CWFD) “depends on funding from this levy to support an essential level of service for its EMS and transport program.”

Voters in Washougal approved that City’s EMS levy renewal in November 2023, at a rate of 50 cents per $1,000 APV. 

A failure to renew EMS levies in either Camas or Washougal would have greatly impacted ambulance service in the Camas-Washougal area, CWFD EMS Chief Shaun Ford said. 

“The primary reason for the EMS levy” in Camas and Washougal, Ford said, is to provide EMS and ambulance services to the area. 

Former Camas Mayor Ellen Burton, along with former Camas City Council members Greg Anderson and Don Chaney, wrote a statement in favor of the proposition for the Voter’s Guide. There were no submissions for statements against the EMS Levy renewal. 

Paramedics save lives — yours, your family’s, and your neighbors’. Passing this replacement Emergency Medical Services levy funds EMS services and transport around the clock. These advanced life support services provide critical care — bringing the (emergency room) to your door; increasing chances of recovery from heart attack, stroke or critical injuries; whenever they occur,” the levy supporters wrote in their “for” statement. “Population growth and increased call volumes are straining existing resources. Passing this replacement levy is critical.”

Anderson, Burton and Chaney also noted that 84% of the CWFD’s calls are EMS-related. 

“Approval of this six-year replacement levy funds current paramedic staffing,” they stated. “Without this funding, it’s uncertain how many EMS personnel will be available, how quickly and how effectively they will be able to respond to medical emergencies.”

The levy renewal will cost the owner of a $500,000 assessed-value home $230 for the year, or around $19 a month. 

The county will certify the results of the April 23 Special Election May 3. The ballot also contained two propositions related to school funding in Ridgefield. As of April 23, voter turnout was 32.37%.