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Contra Costa Co. Voters OK San Pablo EMS Tax

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CONTRA COSTA CO. (CBS SF) — San Pablo voters in Tuesday’s election have approved a measure to raise the city’s sales tax by a quarter of a cent to fund an emergency medical squad meant to pay for more emergency medical responders if the city’s only fire station closes.

Measure K received just more than 69 percent voter approval, exceeding the two-thirds vote required to pass, according to unofficial  election results.

San Pablo city officials said income from the tax will fund a “hybrid emergency medical squad” meant to slash operational costs for Fire Station 70, located at 13928 San Pablo Ave., and boost its odds of staying open despite the fire district’s ongoing budget woes.

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The tax is expected to generate about $600,000 annually, which city officials said will be even more critical considering the likely closure of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, West Contra Costa County’s only public hospital, in addition to a possible fire station closure.

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, whose district includes San Pablo, said he was pleased to hear Measure K had passed.

“Ultimately, whether Doctors hospital closes or not, this will help maintain emergency medical services in San Pablo,” Gioia said.

Opponents of the measure have lamented that the tax doesn’t expire and would raise the city’s sales tax for the second time in three years, from 9 to 9.25 percent.

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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