Voters Tuesday approved City of Hoquiam Proposition No. 1 with 65 percent of the vote, 1,178 to 656, green-lighting the purchase of a new ambulance and making improvements to the current fleet.
The $360,000 general obligation bond issue will mean a slight increase in property taxes on homeowners in Hoquiam over a five year period, said City Administrator Brian Shay. According to the City finance director, “the levy rate would be 18 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for five years. The average homeowner would pay an additional $1.49 per month in property taxes.”
Shay says along with the new ambulance the existing four will be “rechassised,” an industry term that means the box portion of the old ambulance will be placed on a brand new chassis, about a $90,000 job per vehicle. Since the money comes in over a five-year span the work will be done in 18-month increments, one rechassis at a time. The new ambulance might be the highest priority because of the condition of the existing fleet, said Shay.
“We have four in our fleet, and the fourth is kind of a reserve, and about a week ago we only had two ambulances operating. The rest were in the shop,” he said. “So we’re thinking we might move a little faster, make the new ambulance our first project.” To accommodate the up-front expense of a new vehicle, the city could take a loan from its watershed fund and pay that back as the tax money comes in, something Shay says the city is considering.