The upcoming EMS Levy would continue the $.50 levy that funds the Public Hospital District (PHD) and San Juan Island EMS (SJIEMS) until the current levy expires in 2023. It is also intended to reverse a long-planned merger of SJIEMS with San Juan Island Fire and Rescue (SJIFR).
EMS Merger was recommended by a Citizens Advisory Group that studied the issue in 2018.
It has been supported by the Fire and Hospital District boards alike, and is supported by Josh Corsa, MD, our County EMS Program Director.
EMS Merger was on our ballot two months ago with little fanfare. It received 56% approval, but failed to reach the required supermajority for passage. The PHD then withdrew from its merger agreement with SJIFR, and opted to run its own EMS levy.
The PHD has so poorly managed SJIEMS that they’ve failed to hire a chief and most of their EMTs resigned en-mass last year.
Passage of the current EMS Levy will preclude the opportunity for a merger, and solidify business as usual for another six years. Defeat will lead to a new measure for a merger that will result in service improvements, reduced costs and a stable organization that can best protect and serve our community.
Loren Johnson, MD