Opinion

EMS Levy is for the greater good

Sometimes, taxpayers have to pony up the dough for the greater good. This Sept. 16 is one of those times.

The Bremerton Fire Department will be asking Bremertonians to renew an Emergency Medical Services levy that helps pay for paramedics’ wages, training and supplies.

The levy will be a six-year thing and will cost each homeowner in the city of Bremerton 50 cents every $1,000 of assessed value of their home. In short, it would cost $50 a year for a $100,000 home.

The present levy is due to expire on Dec. 31. Last year, this levy raised $754,193 for the fire department’s paramedics and the taxpayers got their money’s worth.

This how it works: there are paramedics who work at the Bremerton Fire Department and assist firefighters when there are fires in the city. About 75 percent of the 6,055 emergency calls in 2002 were not fires, but medical emergencies, according to Bremerton Fire Chief Al Duke.

Behind every call, no doubt, there was a frantic parent, child, neighbor, friend ... any one of which could have been someone you care about.

In all cases, the fire department’s paramedics were there to help.

What a comforting thought to know that in the event of an emergency, there are qualified individuals who know what to do.

The important thing to remember here is — read our lips — this is not a new tax. It is a continuation of a levy that already exists and goes to what is, in our opinion, a good cause: public safety.

On the other hand, is it fair that only homeowners have to carry the brunt of funding paramedics? No, it’s not entirely fair, but for now it’s the only option there is. Until there is something better, this will have to do.

When you step into that polling booth, the deciding question should be this: What if you or a loved one had a medical emergency and there were no paramedics to help you?

In that context, $50 a year doesn’t seem like such a big burden, does it?

Do the right thing: vote yes on the EMS levy.

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