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Measure K Sales Tax Asks Residents to Fund 'Emergency Medical Services Squad'

San Pablo voters will cast their ballots during the June 3 election on a quarter-cent sales tax to fund an emergency medical services squad meant to ensure city residents have adequate emergency medical services despite the possible closure of its lone fire station.
 
City officials proposed the sales tax measure after learning that Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Station 70 at 13928 San Pablo Ave. could close due to the district's ongoing budget problems.
 
The tax would generate an estimated $600,000 each year to fund a "hybrid emergency medical squad" meant to cut the cost of operating the fire station, making it more likely to stay open, according to city officials.
 
City staffers say the EMS squad will be even more critical for public safety if the closure of San Pablo's Doctors Medical Center occurs as expected in July.

[Related article: Nurses' Union File Complaints Over Closure of Doctors Medical Center]
 
"If we lose both the fire station and Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo residents will be facing grave consequences," the ballot argument in favor of Measure K reads.

The tax, which would amount to 25 cents for every $100 purchase within the city, has no expiration date and requires two-thirds voter approval. Some San Pablo voters say they will vote against the measure, which would raise the city's sales tax for the second time in three years.
 
Melvin Siegel, a city resident, wrote in a ballot argument against the measure that he and other city residents already pay county taxes to support the county's fire stations, and shouldn't have to subsidize the fire district.
 
"The financial issue of the County Fire Stations is a benefits and retirement problem the county supervisors continue to not properly address," he said.

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