Submitted by Ken Carrasco
Elections such as the one coming up this November are of huge importance to our local community. It may seem minor compared to the major elections, but to pass or fail measures and to vote for particular candidates for various positions profoundly affects our daily lives.
One such proposition is the county’s Proposition No. 2, the Property Tax Levy Lid Lift. One dozen programs and activities will receive funding should voters approve this proposition.
We often speak of the exceptional quality of life here in the islands, and this is true, but not just because of the physical beauty. I so appreciate the sense of community here and that so many fellow citizens will stand up to assist their neighbors or to cultivate passions unique to our area. I won’t list the programs that would benefit from this lid lift — they are listed in the Voters’ Pamphlet — but in general they serve senior citizens, crime victims, parks and emergency services, among others. Speaking as a local tax-paying property owner myself, I think our investment in these programs through such a modest increase in property taxes will result in substantial returns.
And it should be remembered that not only will people receive services through the levy lid lift, but also such funding importantly gives the many people who desire to volunteer and improve our community the opportunity to do so.
One of the programs that would receive funding from this Proposition is the Islands’ Oil Spill Association. This funding will support IOSA in its mission to mobilize trained and equipped volunteers to respond to petroleum spills in our county waters. There are strong economic arguments in favor of this program in addition to the obvious ecological benefits. For example, we have spent many dollars restoring and enhancing nearshore areas for forage fish and killer whales, and it seems an obvious step to protect those areas from accidental petroleum spills that could cancel all those invested dollars.
Upon approval of Proposition 2 by the voters, the county has drafted several requirements of IOSA in order to receive these funds. For one, IOSA will be required to solicit and obtain from the petroleum industry an equal amount of funding provided by the taxpayers. Industry has already demonstrated their support of IOSA in general, but I suspect that such an investment will enhance collaboration with them. In addition, IOSA will be required to provide regular reports and audits by outside accountants to the council. These are only two of the county’s requirements, but they will all result in partnerships and transparency.
I urge you to vote in favor of Proposition 2.