I’m so frustrated by the ill-informed, misinformed and wishful thinking letter writers who have been writing either: to urge us to vote no on our primary ballots in the hope we’ll get a lower levy request in November; or to express the opinion that even a 50-cent levy won’t be enough to save EMS; or to argue that EMS won’t go away because some unknown someone will step in to keep the ambulances coming when you call 911.
Ignorance, misinformation and wishful thinking are no substitute for facts.
Last November we overwhelmingly elected three new public hospital district commissioners to fix the mess that the hospital district and EMS had become.
Those commissioners have had less than seven months to do that. At the same time, they’ve had to develop a balanced budget for 2017 that will maintain the current level of service, which is what we, the voters, have told them we want. And they’ve had to prepare a new levy request because the existing levy goes away on Dec. 31.
The new commissioners did not take office planning to request a 50-cent levy. The new chairman of the commission not only voted against the last two levy requests he spoke against them publicly because he thought they were not supported by solid data.
But all three of the new commissioners, plus the two continuing commissioners, have become convinced that the fiscal reality has changed sufficiently that EMS cannot now survive on less than a 50-cent levy.
They came to that conclusion through months of hard work crunching the numbers, with the help of an independent citizens’ advisory committee. Neither that fiscal reality nor the levy request will change by punting to November.
I’ve attended all but one of the commission meetings since January, plus the town hall meetings to present the levy request.
I’ve examined the 2017 budget. And I’ve quizzed each of the three new commissioners individually, multiple times, about the budget and levy request. I wanted to understand the facts, not rely on fiction, my “beliefs” or what I wish might happen.
I sincerely hope that 60 percent of you will join me in voting to preserve EMS, for the sake of all of us.
San Juan Island