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Vote no on levy | Letter
The people of Orcas rejected two bond proposals for the school district because the majority felt that it was too much money but finally approved the third request.
What we have now before the voters is pretty much the same amount of money that was requested 15 years ago and that levy was to build two new fire stations, purchase the West Sound station and update our vehicle fleet.
So now we have a payroll and benefits of $1 million for 11 full-time employees, Lopez Island which has half the population operates with a part-time chief, part-time administrative assistant and three full-time firefighters/paramedics, their department is staffed with 39 volunteers.
I have been attending the fire department meetings for 10 years now and I am very familiar with their budget and I feel that the department spending is too much. A few years ago we all objected to the position of assistant chief at the cost of $90,000 but that was forgotten last year and that position was filled at a cost of $114,000 (including benefits).
We spent $27,000 for six months for an off-island CPA, without even trying for a better solution. The bookkeeping should go back to the county for a lot less money just the way we used to do it.
One position received a $9,200 raise this year, money for food, cards, chocolates, pencils, etc and the list goes on.
When you have a lot of money available, it is often too easy to spend at will.
Recently the policy on meals and travel expenses was updated but only after the department was questioned about their spending habits.
The cost for our volunteers is approximately $250,000 and we are all grateful for their dedication.
The commissioners should hold the taxpayers’ interests in high regard and show prudent and effective use of resources entrusted to them.
There is enough money in the budget and reserve to continued to operate until they come to us with a better proposal.
Let’s have clear goals, realistic expectations and accountability. I do not support the current levy proposal.