Before you vote on the EMS levy here’s something to consider. The opponents’ statement in the voters’ pamphlet is full of, to put it politely, inaccuracies. Here’s a quick fact check and correction of their statement.
EMS funding has to be renewed whether it stands alone or merges with Fire. The safe bet is to renew the funding now in case future merger discussions are not completed in 2022. That’s a distinct possibility if the current fire chief is involved. If the EMS funding lapses there is no EMS.
Lower taxes are not a guaranteed result of a merger. What the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) found in their research is that costs frequently rose in the first two to three years following a merger.
EMS, unlike Fire, prepared a detailed budget for their current ballot proposal. They concluded that the safe and appropriate levy amount is 45 cents. Fire had this information last November but proposed a levy of 50 cents. That extra nickel would have amounted to nearly a quarter of a million dollars more in taxes. So what was that extra quarter million for?
For the paramedics to respond from the station 24/7, whether at EMS or Fire, requires five paramedics. Otherwise the agency will be in violation of federal labor laws. The opponents of the levy know this, as does Fire, but they like to pretend they don’t so they can accuse EMS of not delivering on a promise. In fact, EMS has a fifth paramedic who will be fully trained and certified later this year.
And contrary to the opponent’s assertion, EMS is fully staffed with qualified people.
The truth is the current PHD Board has EMS on solid financial ground and EMS is performing at its usual high level. For your own safety, vote Yes to Renew EMS.
San Juan Island