EMS LEVY WINS – by 41 votes…Shouldn’t that save us millions on new jail taxation?

After a long count including certification day on November 29th the EMS levy to raise 43 Million over 6 years passed by 41 Votes.  If you remember… the promise in voting yes was that both the city and the county budgets would not have to be used for EMS services.  Only this new “dedicated” fund could be used.

Well the County government budget spends 1.4 Million dollars from current tax receipts. They will no longer have to supply to EMS services. The City of Bellingham budgets and spends from current tax receipts 1.1 Million dollars.  They will no longer have to supply for EMS services.   Check out this link for all the support the EMS currently gets(before passage of the new tax).

It seems responsible elected officials and administrators should consider, as their highest priority… using these funds; (NOW AVAILABLE) without raising taxes; to fund the a great majority of the New Jail. And collect the small amount remaining with a property tax that is the normal way to fund these projects.

Over crowded Whatcom County Jail

A Federal Mental Heath Bill Addresses some local Mental Health Issues

Will this reduce the cost of local jail plans? Are our local officials looking at this?

What effect will the newly passed National Mental Health bill have on local funding including the bills directive:

“Promotes jail diversion initiatives and other programs to keep the mentally ill from being incarcerated” Does this mean we need as many beds for prisoners as planned or will these federal dollars help house the mentally ill?  Link to full article here

Jail Tax Group meets. Above picture and article from the Bellingham Herald (Samantha Wohlfeil)

Click the picture to see the article on the meeting from the  Bellingham Herald Website.

 

The normal method of long term funding for Government building projects is to raise the funds through a Bond Issue for a set amount of money and the funds being collected through taxes on your Property.  The new reality of the EMS tax being approved did not seem to enter in the conversation of the Jail Tax Group when they closed off any option to use property taxes for Jail Construction.

But if the County and City still collect the taxes for the EMS … the 2.5 million every year that EMS will not use… would accumulate to over 75 million dollars over the lifetime of the currently planned 30 year sales tax issue for the jail WITHOUT raising taxes.  This certainly would lower the need for a NEW property OR sales tax by at least 75% if not more.

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