Letters: EMS, Liias and SB 6617
Last updated 8/1/2018 at Noon
Vote “no” on EMS
In the last issue of the Beacon a column was published, Fire Sirens, titled, "How the levy would help EMS" in which a statement was made that will not be understood by many and should be clarified.
The column states that "the EMS levy rate falls as property falls as property values rise." The impression can be given that, because of this, the city is receiving less money and therefore needs to collect more to make up the difference. That is not the case at all.
The city still receives the exact amount as previous because, as your home value increases, in order for them to receive the same amount, the levy rate (the amount per $1,000) must go down.
The city is not losing money, rather receiving the same amount as previous.
This same scenario is printed in the Voters Pamphlet. Plus the statement is made about "our ever-growing community."
That's true - which means there are also more taxes coming in (property, sales, etc.).
If you vote "yes" on this vote, you are voting once again for more higher taxes on top of the sales tax, property tax for Sound Transit, car registration for Sound Transit, gas tax, etc.
History shows that government is inherently inefficient.
We as citizens are the only ones who can say "no" and must do so to control the growth and cost of government.
EMS information you haven’t been told
Mukilteo mailed an EMS Levy flier to residents.
Fire Chief Alexander wrote about EMS in last week’s Beacon. No dollar information was provided except the proposed monthly tax increase for a home.
A $500,000 home now is taxed $195 annually for EMS. The levy increase would raise that to $250.
They told us “ levy and ambulance billings (recoveries) are insufficient to pay (EMS) expenses”.
Total Fire Dept. expenses, including EMS, were $4,409,568 in 2013, increasing to $4,650,879 in 2017.
This five-year expense increase of $241,311 compares to the total EMS tax increase of $228,671, only $12,640 difference. Tax of $1,632,320 in 2013 increased to $1,861,000 in 2017.
As the Fire Chief said, in addition to EMS tax Mukilteo recovers billings to insurance companies for EMS ambulance transporting. Recoveries amounted to $161,430 in 2013 increasing to $540,700 in 2017.
Thus, current EMS taxes, plus recoveries from transporting to hospitals, have increased far more than the increase in total Fire Dept. expenses the past five years.
So, how can they say, “Revenue received by the city is not keeping up with inflation or daily expenses”?
What the city and the Fire Chief did not explain is that they allocate total Fire Dept. expenses between fire service and EMS and they have allocated a huge increased amount to EMS each year even though total Fire Dept. costs did not increase much.
That reduces the portion of total expense allocated to fire service so accounting records show large annual decreases in fire service expense.
Payments for Fire Dept. expenses have not increased much - just bookkeeping allocations so restricted EMS taxes can be used to pay for a larger amount of Fire Dept. expenses.
There were 2,747 fire and EMS calls in 2017 - average 7.5 calls per 24-hour day - about four calls per station. Very manageable.
In 2011 calls averaged three per day.
At a recent council meeting, the Chief said much of the increase in calls the past year was caused by a change in fire department assistance to nearby fire departments.
They decided 911 should send calls to the nearest area fire station.
As a result, Mukilteo is responding to many calls outside the city.
No increase in personnel since 2011 - none needed or requested now.
The proposed $500,000 annual EMS tax increase is not justified by facts which must be why the City has not provided the above cost and revenue information.
Open letter to Liias
Dear Senator Liias,
As a native son of Mukilteo, a former state representative and current 21st District State Senator, you have a vast amount demonstrated political experience.
As a constituent and a voter in your district, I would like to ask you some questions as I have done with two of your opponents in the previous weeks’ editions of the Mukilteo Beacon.
I am hoping that you will be able to provide me with some actual substance as opposed to the previous two responses.
Can you provide some light as to your platform and ideas for the future as they relate to the issues that most greatly face Mukilteo and the residents who reside here?
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a public servant both legislatively and for Mukilteo?
Can you inform the readers and myself as to some of the major bills that you have sponsored for the good of Mukilteo over the course of your career and what are some upcoming ones that you are working on?
I am most curious as to your political philosophy as it pertains to the diversity and inclusion of our city, how you feel about senior issues, and your take on educating our youth to help prepare them for a healthy future free of drugs and the other behaviors that are plaguing our younger communities.
In your opinion, how do you gauge the public opinions of your voters and which means do you utilize to find out what your constituents want and need?
Do you feel in touch with the people that you represent, and do you have any suggestions on how to improve upon this going into the 2019 Legislative Session?
Thank you for your continued service to the citizens of Mukilteo and the 21st Legislative Districts.
I appreciate your consideration of my questions and I am hopeful that the readers of this paper will also share in the appreciation of your responses.
Best wishes for the campaign.
P.S. I am a Senior Citizen and Mukilteo needs a Senior Center. Is this an issue that you might consider supporting once re-elected?
You’ve posed a number of questions and our friends at the Beacon asked me to keep my response short.
My proudest recent accomplishments were banning so-called “conversion therapy” and passing the Student Loan Bill of Rights. I’ve also championed funding for a lot of Mukilteo projects: a new Boys and Girls Club, ferry terminal, Harbour Reach Corridor Project and Peace Park to name a few.
Moving forward we need to address challenges facing families: saving for college and retirement, housing and health care affordability. Our seniors deserve quality care, which is why I’ve supported better training and pay for home care workers and more state support for skilled nursing care.
You asked how I stay in touch? I host in-person and telephone town halls every year, meet people in the community, and respond to thousands of emails, calls and letters.
I’m proud to be the first and only Kamiak graduate in the Senate, and represent the community I’ve lived in my whole life. I’d be honored to have your vote.
Consider SB 6617 when voting
As we all sit down to fill out our ballots this election, don’t forget to check on how your state senator and/or representatives voted on Senate Bill 6617, which would have shielded their records from (among others) us, their constituents they are supposed to be representing.
I certainly took it into consideration when I filled out my ballot.