Letters to the editor
There is much talk these days about special districts, such as the Health Services District that’s been proposed. So we the people, citizens of Moffat County, should be informed and understand how a special district works and what it entails.
Special districts possess many of the same governing powers as states, counties and cities. They can enter into contracts, employ workers, and acquire real property by means of purchase OR eminent domain. They can issue debt, impose taxes, levy assessments and charge fees for their services.
Like the fire district, they have an elected board, but voter turnout is usually very low. If they are a county board, they county may vote, but sometimes only those in the district can vote. Once a special district gets a mill levy, and they almost always ask for more than they need so they don’t have to come back to the voters, any revenue they get is locked in, collected and given to that entity, no matter what. It is untouchable (Due to TABOR, they will eventually have to come to the voters if they want more.) With the situation we find Moffat County in now, with the tax base and revenue likely to go down, we may find ourselves in a situation where the county commissioners are struggling to provide basic services such as road maintenance, while these special districts are on auto-pilot. They are basically separate government entities, but lack accountability to the people.
Sometimes special districts duplicate services already provided in the city or county. They decrease accountability because they are out of the hands of the elected officials. They are controlled by a select few. They advertise for these positions, but as in the case of the Health Services District, the advertisement was not made locally, so the community had no public input. So, who selects these boards? Do they have our local interests of the whole of the community at heart?
Several questions may arise as you consider these special districts. How do we and can we get rid of them once they are in? Who pays for the and where does the revenue go? How does a special district affect the economic future of the community? Are any of the proposed services already being provided within the community and for what cost?
Let us weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages.
An outside view of the EMS debate
Every year many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hunters to come to Craig to enjoy the miles of open space that Moffat County has to offer. I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of the people there on more than one hunting trip. All of you see us every year. We come and spend our money in your stores, restaurants, gas stations, and motels.
Recently, I was surprised to learn that Moffat County has a rather splintered EMS service that is basically non-existent in the western part of the County. It makes great sense that there is a proposed plan to expand EMS services county-wide through a new Health Service District. But I was very perplexed when I learned that one of the existing EMS services in Maybell is campaigning AGAINST the proposed ballot issues? Why would they be opposed to better service for residents and visitors such as me?
The quality of EMS services in Moffat County should be a top priority for all the residents including those in Maybell. My friends and I need confirmation that when there is an emergency of any sort, there are resources there to help-EMS services of highly trained individuals that can respond quickly and get us to emergent care within the “golden hour” of treatment. I haven’t seen anything in the press about the total lack of EMS services in Dinosaur, with the exception of a note in the October 7 article telling us they must rely on their neighbors in Utah. Granted, it is sparsely populated, but if you can provide EMS services to that area for an affordable price, why doesn’t the press discuss this? Do those people not matter?
It seems to me that $35.75 per year (about 10 cents a day) is an extremely fair price for a resident to pay for the security of life-saving resources. I have needed to use my local EMS service three times in the last ten years. I am thankful my community has EMS service for our entire county and I consider it a wise use of my tax dollars. So why should the residents care what the visitors think? We might decide to visit the areas that see the value of Emergency Medical Service.
I encourage all the citizens of Moffat County to unite behind this worthy cause of 6A and 6B! Your lives may depend on it AND the lives of everyone who visits your community!
An inside view of the EMS debate
Yes, people of Moffat County, another article on the HSD. I know you’re tired of hearing “Vote Yes!” and “Vote No!” Well lucky for you, so am I. Why am I writing to you then? Good question. This is for all the patients and families of patients that I have been there for over the last 5 years of my time as an EMT. Not everyone can do this job, I understand. Not every EMT can offer the same as the other. So why am I any different? I am EMT-McDonald and I offer you mercy and love just as I have been directed to do so by my Mentor. Love my neighbor.
To the woman who called for an ambulance because she didn’t believe she could offer her family any more of herself because of her depression and took more pills than prescribed, I still think of you. I love you.
To the man on the motorcycle who was hit by a car and had a serious injury, I held your hand all the way to the hospital. Your eyes told me you needed someone. That someone was me. I love you.
To the young mother who lost her 3-week-old child. I was the one who came out to hug you when it appeared everyone else was angry. I love you.
To all the families that were left behind after EMS was directed to make “the call” with tears in your eyes, I cried for you too. You didn’t see it because I had to be professional, but yes, later I cried for you and love you all. Even on the calls where I’ve had to use my “mom voice” because you had too much to drink or made the mistake of saying “hold my beer”, yes I care and love you all too.
The above calls are actually real and you know who you are. No one else needs to know who you are, but from me to you, I’ll be there when you call, always. Regardless of why you dial 911, community of Moffat County, people like me are always going to be there for you when you need us. Health Services District or not, you need us, and now we need you.
I leave you with this; when asked why you are/are not voting for HSD ask yourself why? Be honest. No one else will read your mind, so be brutally honest. Is it because of MRH in general? The MRH administration? Care you’ve received in the past? Please don’t let past bad experiences that are not related to the ambulance service itself guide your decision. Get to know the Medics and EMTs behind the flashing lights. Vote because of EMS not because of something else. No matter what happens, know this, WE love you Moffat County. We are YOUR one call away. We are there to save YOUR day.
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