Hoquiam Ambulance Utility Service Fee raising starting April 1

Hoquiam residents will see an increase April 1 on their monthly Ambulance Fee.

After weeks of discussion, the Hoquiam City Council on Monday approved an increase on their monthly ambulance utility service fee, adding $3.31 per month to the base rates, bringing the monthly fee to $19.23.

The increase is intended to cover a deficit in the Ambulance Fund, currently sitting at $232,000 below budget.

In November, a proposal to raise that monthly fee to $20.22 per resident was introduced, before being amended to the lower increase.

Councilmember Dave Wilson spoke out against the increase, saying that while the funds are needed, there needs to be a solution other than passing it directly to residents.

Finance Director Corri Schmid told the council that they are currently looking at a full study on the Fire Department to find what could be done to fix the fund before it gets worse.

The increase was approved, in effect starting April 1, 2017, but an amendment by Wilson added a sunset clause that eliminates the increase on January 1, 2019.

During the next 2 years, the City and Council will look at other options to amend the funds.

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