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Letter: Safety is Non-Partisan — Vote to Approve Prop 1

City Councilwoman Tana Senn writes in a letter to the editor that when it comes to public safety issues, Republicans, Democrats and others should set aside their political differences.

Editor:

No matter where on the political spectrum you might fall, voting to approve Proposition 1 for fire and rescue is the right thing to do for our Mercer Island community. Islanders such as Jim Pearman, Patti Darling, Elliott Newman, El Jahncke, Bryan Cairns, Rich Erwin, Rand Ginn, Ida Ballasiotes, Pat Braman, Andrew King, Bill Hochberg and Richard Ferry, to name just a few, all agree that it is time to replace our 50-year old south end fire station and rescue truck. After all, safety and emergency response do not have a political party—as exemplified by President Obama and NJ Governor Christie in response to Hurricane Sandy.

The costs associated with this safety measure are reasonable. On average, Island homeowners will be assessed $60 per year for the coming nine years. In return, Islanders get a new south end fire station expected to last 50 years and a new rescue truck — ensuring fire fighters and their needed equipment will be there to help in case of a fire, major disaster, medical emergency, car or lake accident or construction mishap.

While I hope none of us ever need the services of our fire department, last year, there were 2,300 incidences on Mercer Island requiring emergency fire response. The men and woman who serve the Island respond so well because they are prepared and equipped to do so. We must continue to invest in their ability to react with facilities and equipment that ensure public safety.

In addition to important peace of mind, Proposition 1 is an excellent investment in our community’s infrastructure and safety going forward.

Vote to Approve Proposition 1.

(Signed)

Tana Senn

Ira B. Appelman November 06, 2012 at 03:35 PM
This Tana Senn letter is a great example of the PURE DECEPTION that has been coming out of the Mercer Island City Council for years. The City already has the money to do whatever it wants with the fire station or anything else in public safety. The City Council has simply been spending funds on lower priority pet projects like the road diet and wants to continue to do so. In the 9 years of this proposed levy, the City will get AT LEAST $20 million in sales tax and another $20 million in Real Estate Excise Tax (REET), $2.5 million per year from each taxing source (http://www.mercergov.org/files/13-14%20SEC-B.pdf, B-6, B-24). That is beyond the $10 million plus per year from property tax and additional millions from a slew of other taxes and fees (Utility taxes, B&O tax, development fees, etc.). That $40 million plus in sales tax and REET is available for capital projects. Instead of properly prioritizing, the City Council majority cynically claims poverty for projects where it thinks it can squeeze extra funds from Islanders. The same thing is happening with Summer Celebration! and Mostly Music in the Park, popular programs which the Council claims it cannot fund without additonal Islander support. If this fire station levy project was really necessary, the Council would have already done it with available funds. If Islanders reject this levy, the Council will either fund it or a more reasonable fire station remodel with available funds.

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