Opinion

Yes to restoring Emergency Medical Services levy

I am writing to encourage all voters to restore our previously authorized Emergency Medical Services Levy back to its original rate of 50 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property valuation. This is a necessary action for Marysville and District 12 to be able to continue to respond to the needs of its citizenry.

In emergencies, moments count. Our Marysville Fire District's Emergency Medical Services proves this everyday. Actually, they prove it more like 22 times a day. That is the average daily request of service they get for emergency medical services from the public, approximately 84 percent of the 9,874 Marysville Fire District total calls for last year. Perhaps you haven't personally needed to utilize their services, but the chances are very good that you know one or more who have.

While these figures can seem rather astounding, what's even more so is that our Fire District has been doing this on a shoestring budget that has been constantly chiseled down over the years since its passage in 2004. Among the circumstances was the previous passage of Initiative 747, which mandated a limit on property taxes to just one percent each year, as well as its general erosion via inflation and rising costs over these years.

The result has been that the original 50 cent per thousand rate originally authorized has been knocked down to ultimately 34 cents, a more than 30 percent drop in the levy rate. Despite the Fire District's great economic prudence, responsibility and fiscal trust, overall expenses continue to rise, making it more and more difficult, if not impossible, to keep adequate services in order. These services include Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support, paramedics and ambulance transportation services, all available 24 hours a day. Add in fuel, labor, equipment and other supplies necessary, all of which whose costs have been rising at an alarming rate, and, hopefully, we all see the situation that is to be faced and addressed.

The restoration of the originally approved 50 cent levy rate would raise approximately $1,010,000 over what is currently being collected, beginning in 2009. This would equate to about 48 dollars per year for an owner of a $300,000 home and about 36 dollars a year to District 12 residents.

The safety and security of our neighborhoods and community as a whole is of great importance, playing a large and direct role in economic development and growth. Considering the current and future growth expectations of our city, so will be a like demand on our fire departments and emergency medical services to meet today's and tomorrow's needs. Once again, I most definitely support passage of the ballot request to return the once authorized 50 cent levy rate and urge my fellow citizens to do the same. These resources are not just a "nice-to-have," but a necessity that presently saves many lives and will continue to save many more in the future.

For all of our sakes and safety, please vote YES to the EMS.

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