Support ECFR levy renewal request

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

Voters living within the boundaries of the East County Fire and Rescue district will have a decision to make when they receive their general election ballots in the mail next week.

In this situation choosing whether to support Proposition 1, the emergency medical services levy, shouldn’t be a difficult one. This levy, simply a renewal of the one that already exists, provides a critical service to the rural residents of the East County Fire and Rescue district.

For more than 30 years, the local area EMS system has been supported through the partnership between Camas, Washougal and East County Fire and Rescue, with Camas being the lead agency.

At a cost of 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, money from this six-year levy is funneled through ECFR directly to the Camas-Washougal Fire Department. The levy costs the owner of property valued at $200,000 approximately $70 per year, and property valued at $300,000 approximately $105 per year.

With the funding, CWFD pays for ambulance services, purchase and maintenance of ambulances, equipment and supplies, hiring and training of firefighter/paramedics and IV technicians and administrative support personnel and training programs. It also provides for the EMT training and recertification of the volunteer programs in Washougal and at ECFR.

In the most simple terms, it allows Camas-Washougal Fire Department paramedics to provide the area with continuous paramedic coverage, 365 days a year. Any other alternatives would likely result in emergency medical services at a greatly reduced level.

The Post-Record recommends supporting East County Fire and Rescue Proposition 1, to renew funding that provides life-saving services to the 10,000 people who live in rural district.