Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Letter writer is still twisting the facts

Editor,

In his recent letter Mr. Enell tries once again to convince you that something is wrong. He minimizes his manipulation of the facts by calling it semantics, but facts are facts.

“Do we need it?” is the first question asked here. We don’t decide how we grow — those we serve do. Our job is to provide effective service based on demand. Our long-range strategic planning results in us keeping up with the increasing demands placed upon us. Planning ensures sustainability. The projects Mr. Enell dislikes were decided based on need.

Over the last 23 years, our population has increased 30 percent and call volume has increased from 541 a year to over 2,000 projected for this year.

We have provided marine services since 1982. Mr. Enell believes our outfitting and boat maintenance costs will “dwarf” the original construction costs. The cost includes outfitting, and we have sound preventative maintenance and a long-range apparatus replacement plan that prevents such a thing.

Our facilities costs are far below Mr. Enell’s new number of $5 million over 20 years. As a matter of fact, we reduced the number of fire stations by one over that period. Our Freeland station replaced two.

Of the two parcels of property Mr. Enell questions, one was up for sale for 2 years, pulled when the value plummeted, and will be offered for sale again this month. We had no offers on the property during the last listing.

Duplicating emergency medical services is certainly unwise. That’s why we don’t do it. We are part of a tiered emergency medical system that provides rapid, comprehensive care. No agency can do it effectively alone.

Our projected revenues for 2014 are $2.99 million, down from $3.6 million this year due to a reduction in grant funds. As we develop our 2014 budget, our budget team works hard to balance necessary cuts while keeping our level of service high, as always.

We do not grow to increase our customer volume. Quite the opposite. We are trying to keep up with demand and provide the highest level of service while doing it.

H.L. “RUSTY” PALMER,

South Whidbey Fire/EMS chief

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