SAN PABLO -- Local voters will decide in June whether to authorize a quarter-cent sales tax hike to fund increased emergency medical services in the city.

The City Council unanimously supported the tax proposal, which would raise the sales tax in the city from 9 percent to 9.25 percent, because of what leaders call "immediate threats to public safety," including the potential closure of an area hospital and fire station.

Fire Station #70 could face closure because of the Contra Costa Fire District's fiscal troubles, said City Manager Matt Rodriguez.

San Pablo's Doctors Medical Center, whose emergency room treats thousands of residents per year, could close this year unless health care district voters approve a 14-cent per square foot parcel tax.

"We need to be proactive, and not reactive, to these immediate threats to public safety," Rodriguez said in a prepared statement.

The tax is projected to raise $600,000 annually and would be used to help pay for an emergency medical services squad consisting of two paramedics and vehicle based at Station #70, Rodriguez said. The city would have to pick up about $400,000 in additional costs out of its general fund, Rodriguez said.

Mayor Paul Morris said regardless of what happens with DMC or the station, funding a new EMS squad is important to improve emergency response and provide improved services to the city, which has a high proportion of older residents.

"We won't have the expense of sending out a fire truck every time somebody has a medical issue," Morris said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

As a special tax, the ballot measure requires two-thirds of voter support to pass, per state law. It has no sunset provision.

DMC released a statement Wednesday not directly addressing the city's tax but emphasizing the larger challenge facing emergency systems serving West County residents.

" ... the closure of Doctors Medical Center would have dire medical consequences for West County residents," hospital spokeswoman Remy Goldsmith wrote. "Ambulance transport times and emergency room waiting times will dramatically increase. That's why the hospital is pursuing a funding measure to make the hospital financially sustainable."

Station #70 is the only county fire station in the city, and is the second-busiest station in Contra Costa County, according to Rodriguez. About 83 percent of calls to the station last year were for emergency medical services.

"It is essential ... that a funding method be found to support and ensure adequate EMS response in the city of San Pablo through smaller EMS vehicles to complement more expensive fire vehicles," the city staff report said.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/SFBaynewsrogers.