Hoquiam residents to see 101% increase to ambulance availability fee in 2024

In their last scheduled meeting for 2023, the Hoquiam City Council approved increases to their ambulance utility service fee starting in January.

In discussion, city officials spoke about a number of reasons why the increase was brought forward. This includes increased costs for new ambulances, rising costs for service, and the ongoing costs associated with medical care in general.

In data from the city, it showed that costs for ambulance operations have increased from $3.3 million in 2017 to $5.3 million in 2023, a 60% increase, while the cost to purchase an ambulance had also increased by 55%.

Data from City of Hoquiam

Under the approved ordinance, the monthly service rate will more than double from its current rate. This would move the rate from $19.23 on water bills to a rate of $38.64 per month.

This ordinance shall take effect on January 1, 2024, and incremental increases are set to take effect each January over the next three years. 

The ordinance states that an additional increase would be effective starting January 1, 2025 to move the fee to $40.92 a month, and $43.28 per month starting on January 1, 2026.

Discussion from the council regarding the adjustment included concerns for citizens on fixed income, with staff reminding that there are senior discount rates available if residents qualify.

The vote was not unanimous and passed 7-4.