There are three basic protection services on which we all rely and take for granted; fire, police and emergence medical service. San Juan Island is on the brink of losing our EMS. Funding entitlement expires Dec. 31, 2016 if Proposition 1 fails to garner at least 60 percent of the vote in our fast approaching election!
The budgeting process has finally been concluded and is available for anyone to peruse on the website: voteyesforems2016.com. Without the required .50 cents /$1,000 levy of assessed value ($200/year on a $400,000 property) we will lose our Emergency Medical Service.
“Scare tactics” as some have said and written, perhaps that is a perception for some; however it is reality. And, yes it should be scary to all of us. Testimonies from several heart attack victims whose lives have been saved by our EMS have appeared in the Journal. There are scores of others; accident, heart attack victims and miscellaneous medical emergencies that have benefited by our outstanding EMS. I believe it inconceivable that any thinking person would not want this basic service available for them or their family.
EMS works closely with Peace Island Medical Center, but the levy is separate and distinct from PIMC. To put this needed levy in perspective, it is five cents more than Island Rec when restored from its current 38 cents and 1 cent more than San Juan Island Library’s 49 cents/$1,000.
San Juan EMS hired a new chief, Jerry Martin, who took over in January. Prior to and since then personnel, salaries and benefited have been reduced and the paramedics agreed to an 11 percent pay cut this year. Chief Martin worked closely with the commissioners and a citizen budget review committee, who have now completed a sustainable 2017 budget.
They have done their part; it is time for the citizens to do our part. Vote yes, save the EMS! Or vote no and call a taxi.
Robert E. Allen
San Juan Island