There are several issues that concern me about the new hospital but the one that is uppermost in my mind is the future of EMS. 2016 is the last year of the current EMS levy, so if the voters don’t approve a new levy EMS will lose a third of its budget and the level of service will change dramatically. The hospital district board election will have a big influence on the levy vote.
Of the six candidates running for the board, three apparently believe that the defeat of the last two levies was “a public relations problem”and “we were in a recession.” Those of us who voted against one or both of those levies know that’s nonsense. I have supported every EMS levy ever put forward in this county, until the last two. On those, I voted no. I did so because the numbers didn’t make sense.
The former EMS chief has become the scapegoat for those failures. He definitely deserves a big share of the blame but the problem went beyond him. It was a systemic failure. The hospital district board is supposed to provide oversight of the EMS budget and levy. They failed miserably.
If we are going to pass a levy in 2016 we’re going to need a solid, defensible EMS budget that is the basis for a realistic levy proposal to the voters. That may mean starting from ground zero in developing anew EMS budget. Lipstick on the pig is not going to fool the voters. And this is a genuine life and death issue.
The candidates who think that all we’ll need is a good public relation campaign are living on another planet. The candidates who have made it clear that they recognize that we need much more than a better public relations campaign are Barbara Sharp, Bill Williams and MonicaHarrington.
Each of them is dedicated to getting a new EMS levy approved. But, unlike their opponents, they’re living on planet earth, San Juan Island.They know it’s going to take some serious work with the new EMS chief to craft a viable budget and levy. Vote for the candidates who have the knowledge, skills and abilities to craft that budget and levy.