Letter: Vote yes on 1A
October 17, 2014
One of the least talked-about but nonetheless very important ballot issues on this fall's election is the question of whether to increase funding for the Aspen Ambulance District. It is very important for the continued operation of the ambulance district that this ballot issue be passed. The ambulance district has provided excellent service to which we have become accustomed since 1982 without once having to come back to the voters for a mill levy increase!
In fact, the mill levy that was passed by voters in 1982 at 0.82 mills has decreased over the years to the current 0.22 mills. The ballot question asks that a 0.501 mill levy rate be approved, which translates into an increase of only $2.23 per $100,000 in property value. The Board of County Commissioners, which acts as the board of the Aspen Ambulance District, will have the option to use less than the asked-for amount, depending on the annual budget needs. What a bargain the taxpayers would be getting by voting "yes."
Over the years, the district has become more efficient and better-trained than ever before, and the amount of specialized equipment is much better. But now, without getting increased funding, it will run out of money within a couple of years, will have to cut back on the level of service we now receive and will not be able to replace the undersized and outdated ambulance barn next to the hospital emergency room. The four bigger and better-equipped-than-ever ambulances the district has will not all fit in the current facility, and the 30 highly trained paramedics and EMTs who serve our community will have to continue waiting for emergency calls in crowded and less-than-ideal conditions.
Downvalley and Snowmass Village voters who live in Precincts 6, 8, 9 and 10 will notice that the ambulance district Ballot Question 1A has inadvertently been placed on their ballots. Don't be confused by this. You don't have to vote on that item, and your vote on it will not be counted if you do. Your ambulance service will continue to be provided out of Basalt, Carbondale and Snowmass Village.
I urge all voters who live in the Aspen Ambulance District to vote "yes" on Ballot Question 1A to ensure continued and excellent ambulance service.
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