Our newly constituted Hospital District Board of Commissioners, with three members elected in the wake of widespread discontent with the transition to the new hospital and management of EMS by previous leadership, is asking us to authorize an increased levy for emergency services.
There is understandable skepticism about the need for a 50 cent levy to replace the current 35 cent levy. However, those of us who have made the effort to understand the rationale for the increase presented by the commissioners, volunteer budget committee, and EMS Chief are now convinced that the 15 cent per $1000 increase is justified by reduced property values, increased costs, and the need to make delayed capital improvements.
This is not to say that many mistakes were not made in the past. However, the new board and EMS Chief are working hard to correct these errors, guarantee transparency, and ensure that earlier errors are not repeated by the new leadership. Our conclusion is that the only way to maintain our excellent emergency services is to vote “yes” on August 2. Now is the time to look forward and empower EMS leadership to implement these well-justified changes. Rejecting the levy to punish EMS for past failures will only harm all islanders.
San Juan Island