The City of Hoquiam is proposing an increase in their Ambulance Utility Fee to combat a shortfall in their budget.
On Monday night, Finance Director Corri Schmid presented the City Council with their preliminary budget for 2017-2018, saying that there are some “Tough decisions to make”.
In the budget, it shows a $1,054,530 shortfall this year in their Ambulance fund. This difference is outside of funds approved by voters in the General Election for the Ambulance Equipment Levy of $360,000 and the continuation of their EMS levy approved in April.
Schmid said in the meeting that the challenges to the Ambulance Fund show an increase of 8.1% in their budget from 2015-2016, and an ending fund balance of $0.
To balance the budget, an increased Ambulance Utility Fee of $8.40 per month was proposed. According to Schmid, this increase would bring the fee to approximately $20.23 per month for residents.
Another choice in front of the council is a review of the fire and EMS service contracts to see if changes could be made to alleviate the loss.
The city will review the preliminary budget and hold a 2nd public hearing on November 28th before adoption in December.