Opinion

Yes for EMS

In about a week, registered voters of Central Kitsap will receive something very important in the mail.

It’s the ballot for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s (CKFR’s) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Levy and there is a lot riding on whether you decide to vote yes. Often, levy requests are shrouded in misunderstanding on the part of voters no matter what it pertains to. CKFR is not asking voters to pass a new tax. This levy request is for a renewal of CKFR’s currently existing six-year EMS levy, which was approved by 83 percent of voters in 2004. It will take the levy rate for 2010 back to its original rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The proposed EMS levy rate for 2010 without this renewal request would be 39 cents per $1,000. The passage of this levy would mean an additional $25.52 a year for a resident who’s home is valued at $232,000.

The department is asking for the levy renewal a year earlier, which had been forecasted to the community in 2005 as part of the district’s long-term strategic plan. There are no surprises here.

In the current economic climate, it’s going to be difficult for some voters to make the decision to support this levy — but it shouldn’t be. Times are tough — yes — but just because we’re in a recession doesn’t mean no one will respond if you call 911 in an emergency. No matter what, CKFR provides first-rate service to the community. In turn, voters should support a service that so often can be taken for granted.

“No matter the economy, we still have people who call us for emergencies,” CKFR Chief Ken Burdette said. “We recognize times are tough, but at the same time we have an obligation to provide emergency care.”

The revenue from this levy request, should it pass, will help fund staffing of paramedics and emergency medical technicians; the purchase, maintenance and operation of ambulances and medical supplies and equipment.

Obviously, if you or a loved one should experience a heart attack, you’re hoping that first responder is prepared with top-of-the-line equipment that won’t fail when it’s needed most. It’s up to CK voters to help ensure we receive the best service by supporting those who are there for us when we are possibly at our worst. Don’t turn your back on your community fire department. Election day is May 19. Vote yes for EMS.

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