Re: Watching the impeachment trial in the Senate. The only upside here is that their highly visible, well-documented, craven sycophantic fawning over an obvious scoundrel, will cement their legacies as Nazi act-alikes.
Laura Love, Winthrop
Support the firefighters
Like many of us, I was very interested in the discussions about a new fire station that went on during the last election. At a Fire District 6 open house in Twisp recently, I got to look at the actual plans. Fire Chief Cody Acord was there to answer questions, along with other firefighters.
I really appreciated their openness to my many questions about the design and how it fits the needs of the district. They also explained that much of the design was required by state law and regulations, to meet efficiency and safety needs.
The new training facility is particularly significant. It’s being funded by a $1.8 million grant from the Betti Foundation. Up-to-date training is really important for the firefighters’ safety … and ours! I hadn’t realized that our firefighters have to go to North Bend for comprehensive training. Most of them are volunteers and have to do it on their own time. They deserve better from us.
The district also had a detailed chart of the costs and the alternative financing possibilities. Again, they answered all my questions thoroughly and satisfactorily. My only disappointment was learning that there would be no fire pole. Unfortunately, a pole would require substantial additional costs. I fully believe the district has been responsive to citizen concerns about keeping costs down. Even if it means doing without a pole, darn it.
Our firefighters are mostly volunteers. They give their time and put their lives on the line for us all year long. We owe them our support in return. The new fire station is long overdue, and the training facility a big plus. Please vote for the station funding when it goes on the ballot.
Randy Brook, Twisp
I feel the need to respond to the story about hepatitis A in the Jan. 15 issue. It reports that recently there were four cases of hepatitis A in the county (not in the Methow Valley). The story mentions that the four persons have been immunized, which means they have been vaccinated. My understanding is that when you contract a virus, your body creates antibodies as it mounts an immune response, so it does not make sense to me that these four people would be given the hepatitis A vaccine after they already got the virus. The vaccine would seem to be unnecessary. I’m sure some nurse or other medical professional can respond with what they have learned on the subject.
Brad Campbell, Twisp
The proposed new Okanogan County Fire District 6 station and training center will bring a slew of benefits for everyone in our community. To fund this new facility, a property tax increase of 17.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value will be needed. This would raise the property tax rate for the district from 65.3575 cents per $1,000 (the 2019 rate), to 82.8575 cents per $1,000. I was curious as to how both our current rate and the proposed new rate compared with the rates of other eastern Washington fire districts. Here’s what I found out:
• In 2019, the 20 counties in eastern Washington had a total of 162 county fire districts. (This total does not include municipal fire departments.) The 2019 regular levy rates for those county fire districts included 118 which were higher than District 6’s current rate and 43 which were lower. Eighty-two of those rates are higher than District 6’s proposed new rate and 79 are lower. (District 6 has only a regular levy. Only regular levy rates were included in this comparison. The rates for the additional funding sources of the other county fire districts – excess levies, bonds and EMS levies – were not included.)
• In 2019, the total assessed value of the property in District 6 was $1,212,568,098. (This amount does not include the assessed value of the property in Twisp, $94,830,101 in 2019. Twisp is not in the district, which provides service to Twisp under a contract.) In 2019, there were nine other county fire districts that had total assessed values in the $1 billion-$1.5 billion range. The 2019 regular levy rates for all nine of those other county fire districts were higher than District 6’s current rate. Seven out of nine of those rates were higher than District 6’s proposed new rate. Rounded off to the nearest penny, the 2019 regular levy rates of those nine other county fire districts ranged from a low of 74 cents per $1,000 to a high of $1.37 per $1,000, with the average rate being $1.03 per $1,000.
In light of these comparisons, District 6’s proposed new rate seems very reasonable.
Paul Sisson, Winthrop