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January 26, 1998

Opinion

Rural fire departments will be the most impacted

  The Medic One levy was created in 1979 as a practical county-wide funding solution to provide paramedic services throughout King County. It has insured that the dollars generated would only go to EMS, never to be impacted by budget cuts or political whim. These "insulated funds" have proven to be one of the key factors that has allowed our Medic One program to evolve into being recognized as the best Medic One system in the world.
  
   The levy opposition statement highlights a misunderstanding of how Medic One Services are funded and delivered on a regional basis. The opposition has used numbers generated by the county's poll out of context to further confuse the voters and further their cause. The statement about the current funds being available to fund Medic One on a permanent basis is not true. Either other services would have to be drastically curtailed or stopped, or taxes would have to be increased. King County has identified six months of funding for only a portion of the Medic One system.
  
   Local fire departments who are the first to arrive at the emergency are receiving no money at all. Every fire department's financial situation is different. Those departments in the rural areas will be the most impacted. Our Medic One system is in a funding crisis. We need to pass this levy to provide time for our regional leaders to explore and identify the best long-term funding solution for Medic One. It can't be done overnight. Vote YES on Medic One Feb. 3
   Chris Merritt,
   Carnation