Letters: EMS, the Gulch and Lotmore

Jul 18, 2018

More EMS tax nod needed

Our EMS service is very high quality. Fire department personnel perform both fire service and EMS - no separate EMS employees.

State law requires a portion of total fire department expenses to be allocated in some undefined way to EMS because EMS taxes can only be used to pay for EMS.

There are many theories how total fire department expenses should be allocated.

Mukilteo increased the annual amount allocated to EMS from $1,952,662 in 2013 to $2,572,979.

In 2017, a $620,311 increase. Yet total fire department expenses, which include EMS, have only increased $241,311 from $ 4,409,568 in 2013 to $4,650,879 in 2017.

EMS tax increased $228,680 during this five-year period, within $12,631 of total fire department expense increases.

In addition, EMS collects approximately $540,000 annually from insurance companies for transporting residents to hospitals.

Transport recoveries increased $379,270 annually since 2013.

With only a $241,311 annual increase in total fire department expenses since 2013 it is easy to see EMS tax revenue plus recoveries from insurance companies far exceeds total fire department expense increases.

Why are the mayor and council asking us to increase our EMS taxes from $.39 per $1,000 of property value to $.50, a 28 percent increase of $500,000 annually?

They want more General Fund revenue for expenditures that always exceed Mukilteo’s initial balanced budget.

How does an increase in EMS tax become available for General Fund use?

Two ways - the General Fund pays for fire department expenses that are not allocated to EMS. More allocated to EMS means less allocated to fire service, reducing General Fund payments.

Second, recoveries from insurance companies are unrestricted and can be used by the General Fund.

In 2015/2016, the EMS Fund transferred $351,729 insurance recoveries to the General Fund.

The proposed $500,000 EMS tax increase will be available to the General Fund.

Mukilteo has provided very general comments, saying it will be spent on personnel, equipment and public education.

No analyses have been prepared to determine the amount required, if any, for such needs. Why, suddenly, a need for $500,000 more EMS tax annually?

On June 23, the Council voted to increase water/sewer taxes $250,000 in 2019 and $250,000 in 2020 - $500,000 more utility taxes.

They are now discussing how much of the 11 percent carryover from not using the annual 1 percent tax increase they should assess - voter approval not required.

I fully support EMS but $500,000 more EMS tax is unneeded. Vote “no.”

 

Charlie Pancerzewski

Twice Councilmember

Mukilteo

 

Off-leash in Japanese Gulch does work

 

I am sorry to hear that some dog owners have had bad experiences walking/running in the Gulch (“Off-leash dog attacks upsetting Mukilteo residents”).

Our experience is quite different. We have been running in the Gulch with our dog(s) for the past 13 years and run there every day when we are in town.

I run my current dog both off and on leash, but I have run our previous dogs on leash (because one needed to for behavioral reasons and one wandered).

In the past year (300 days of running), we’ve only met one dog off-leash that was snarly and should have been on leash. My experience is that people are good at self-selecting whether their dog should be on leash or not, and dog owners with possibly aggressive dogs will move them off trail for us to pass.

The majority of people on the Gulch trails are with dogs and the majority of these dogs are off-leash.

Education and cooperation is a better way to deal with the decision on leash or not in the Japanese Gulch.

Please bring this issue back to the City Council for public comment and listen to the majority of Gulch users who support off-leash.

 

Alison Timidaiski

Mukilteo

 

 

Support for Lotmore

 

I love where I live - Mukilteo: The wide sidewalks on Harbour Pointe Blvd, the busses, access to the water, my church, Pointe of Grace Lutheran Church (by the way, please come to a community-wide barbeque there Aug. 5 around 11:30), the Mukilteo Teen Lounge where I volunteer and kids feel safe, my library, all the trees, wetlands, the Starbucks and my neighbors in and around Front 9.

I am the Vice President of the HOA there and Mario Lotmore is the President. We get a lot done and have fun while we’re at it along with three other members.

Last year when Mario was treasurer he worked countless hours to balance the books and our receivables are at an all-time high.

This is all while Mario worked full-time in a responsible job and spent many hours as a volunteer in the STEM program at Endeavor, Columbia, Horizon, Whittier and Westgate Schools; teaching kids science and math for free and making it fun.

Mario and I don’t see eye to eye on everything, but I respect him. He is a person of his word, always follows through, is honest, knows how to write and balance a budget, problem solve, work in a team and is great with kids (we even babysit together).

I’ve lived in this wonderful community for 22-and-a-half years and Mario is part of why it’s a good place to live.

We are both “community people” and I’d be happy to have Mario represent our community down in Olympia.

 

Laura L. Crawford

Mukilteo

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