Local Election

In new count, Whatcom EMS is passing by 14 votes out of 106,000

A paramedic with Whatcom Medic One, uses a computer to look up information en route to a call on March 9, 2012 in Bellingham.
A paramedic with Whatcom Medic One, uses a computer to look up information en route to a call on March 9, 2012 in Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

A proposed Whatcom County levy for emergency medical services was passing by a microscopic margin of 14 votes out of over 106,000, in a new tally released Friday.

Over the past 1 ½ weeks ballot counts showed the measure failing by over 170 votes – still a slim margin. The gap had closed to five by the middle of this week, and this is the first time the “yes” vote has exceeded the 60 percent threshold needed to pass, with 60.01 voting in favor.

About 200 new ballots were counted over the past two days. Hundreds of votes are still in play. Many of those are ballots with signatures that didn’t match the ones on record, so those voters need to confirm their ballots by Nov. 28.

Over its six-year duration the levy would raise property taxes by 29.5 cents per $1,000 of value. It would fund a fifth ambulance staffed by paramedics, cover the salary of an administrator to oversee the system, and build up about $10 million in reserves.

Opponents say the research on how to spend the money hasn’t been finished, and that the research that is there suggests it’s not necessary right now.

Proponents say better funding is overdue.

To request a recount, the losing side would need to come up with 25 cents per ballot, or over $25,000, that would be surrendered if the results stay the same.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

How the map works

In precincts shaded green, the EMS levy is passing. In precincts shaded red, the levy is failing. To see individual totals, click on each precinct. To zoom in, use the controls embedded in the lefthand side of the map.

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