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January 12, 1998

Opinion

Why was assessed valuation raised for EMS levy?

  Why did not the King County Council vote to merely replace the $1.25/$1,000 of assessed valuation we've been paying for emergency medical services, instead of raising it to $1.29/$1,000, when deciding to place an excess levy on the February ballot. And why did the Council decide on a 3-year excess levy, instead of a 1-year, or possibly 2-year, excess levy. County officials claim we voters didn't know what we were doing the last time around. If the excess levy passes in February, for the raised amount and the 3-year period, the funding pressure will be off. And soon we'll see another excess levy for EMS on the ballot. It's not as if each fire district in the county did not have excellent emergency services aside from Medic One. (In recognition of its workload, our local fire district now calls itself the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District, with 70% of its 1995 calls being for emergency aid. Check the FIRE charge on your real estate tax bill.)
  
   Skyrocketing assessed valuations have resulted in greatly increased revenues to the county and to the fire districts. Surely, with those revenue increases and with judicious belt tightening, our service providers can take care of most of our medical emergencies. Private ambulances can fill the rest until our governments realize we really do expect emergency medical service as a basic, fully-funded service, not just an excess levy to be voted up or down according to the whim of the moment.
   Maxine Keesling,
   Woodinville