If you’re a Methow Valley property owner, it shows up as one line on your Okanogan County tax bill every year: 50 cents per $1,000 of valuation. That assessment goes to the Methow Valley Emergency Medical Services District, whose board of directors is the county commissioners.
The revenues collected by the county for the medical services district go directly to Aero Methow Rescue service, the Twisp-based nonprofit that provides those emergency medical services through a contract with the district.
The levy amount never changes but its assessment is not automatic into perpetuity. It comes up for renewal every 10 years — and this is the year that residents are asked to again approve the levy to continue supporting Aero Methow. The levy request is on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. (Because the Town of Twisp opted for a six-year levy renewal cycle when the district was formed in the early 1990s, Twisp residents won’t be voting on renewal this year). For more information, see the story in this week’s newspaper, and the Aero Methow informational insert inside the B section.
For more than half a century, we’ve become used to the idea of having Aero Methow around to not only provide emergency medical responses, but to also participate in a variety of community activities and partnerships with other local agencies. But that can’t continue to happen without the support the Emergency Medical Services District assessment provides.
In any given year, those tax funds amount to about half of Aero Methow’s operating revenues; the rest comes from a combination of sources that taken together would not pay for all the things Aero Methow provides.
The valley is fortunate — as any of us who have taken an emergency ambulance ride, or called on Aero Methow for some other assistance knows — to have such an organization always available. It’s scary to imagine the Methow without it, or with a much-reduced presence.
According to Aero Methow, about 3% of Okanogan County property taxes go to emergency medical services. By any measure, that’s a bargain, especially when you need it, and a great example of your tax dollars at work to maximum effect. Aero Methow is a reliable steward of the funds.
Make sure you look your ballot over carefully, and vote yes on Methow Valley Emergency Services District levy renewal. Then you can forget about it for another 10 years, during which time Aero Methow will continue to be an integral part of the community.
Get in the spirit
Feel that nip in the air? That’s the actual season of fall settling in, to be quickly followed by winter. Yes, we’re not even past Halloween yet, but it’s not too early to think about seasonal events that are coming at us faster than we can imagine — because participating and partaking are part of the seasonal experience.
Nothing says community involvement like the Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Manger Mall programs annually sponsored by The Cove, which rely on your generosity.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors assures that food baskets, with all the fixings, are delivered to families prior to Christmas. In the Manger Mall program, parents and guardians are able to shop for gifts for their children so there is something special under the tree on Christmas morning.
Both events take place in December prior to the holidays. You’ll be hearing more about them soon.
Christmas at the End of the Road, Winthrop’s post-Thanksgiving intro to the holidays, will be Nov. 25-26. It will again feature one of the best fireworks shows around, made possible by community donations. The Winthrop Chamber of Commerce is soliciting donations from local businesses and organizations. To take part, mail a check to Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, P.O Box 39, Winthrop, WA 98862.
The local entertainment and action scene will be bustling as well, with events at The Merc Playhouse, The Confluence: Art in Twisp, the Winthrop Barn, the Methow Valley Community Center and the Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus, along with the beginning of ice skating sessions, Mistletoe Madness and, we hope, a good start to the Nordic skiing season. That’s only a partial list. Check the schedules at your Twisp and Winthrop libraries as well.
The only way these opportunities can be successful is with local involvement, as an organizer, supporter, participant or all three. Find a role that fits your interests and dive in. We will do our best to keep you informed about everything that is coming up in plenty of time for you to block out your calendars.