Islands' Sounder


Yes in support of the Levy | Letter

April 15, 2014 · Updated 4:39 PM

It is hard to see why someone would vote no on the OIFR levy. Perhaps a voter would feel their taxes would go down. That event would be a rarity, indeed.

Rhetoric and false accusations aside, it would seem that last week our state senator, Kevin Rankin, hit the nail on the head: “...the levy renewal will not raise taxes ...” That in and of itself should be considered a miracle in today’s government tax and spend philosophy.

Obviously, things cost lots more than they did at the last fire levy vote. New government regulations mandate that money must be spent in compliance and training. Who can complain about that? Should Orcas not comply?

Attracting the best costs money. Anyone care for inexperienced, poorly trained, less costly staff?

One misinformed writer suggested turning over the operation of the OIFR to the county, or the state. What a colossal blunder that would be. Turning over a very well functioning team that receives well-done kudos all the time, if the letters in this paper are to be believed, would end up in a horror show. A non-local bureaucracy that would see Orcas as just another line item would be an immeasurable mistake.

When local problems get dumped into the great miasma of bureaucratic political control, everything goes into the delay hopper and is ground up by the inaction quotient. Turning over OIFR to anyone anywhere outside local 24/7 control would be an egregious error.

Every writer says the last levy accomplished its goal. While not here to witness that vote, I’d guess it got much the same body of comments as this one. With the cost of goods and services about 4 to 10 times higher today than they were then, and enjoying a first rate team of professionals and volunteers who, from all I have ever read and seen, do a thoroughly good, if not superb, job at what they do, voting YES is to me the right answer.

To paraphrase what another wrote last week in a letter to The Sounder, when the emergency occurs, I want to have an immediate response with top, highly trained people in modern equipment with very positive attitudes. That’s what we are blessed with now. We need to ensure we keep it that way.

Please vote YES in support of the Fire Levy.

Michael Coughlin

Orcas Island


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