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Ambulance district request is a 'no-brainer'

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Dear Editor:

We at the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce are just coming off of a very successful AppleFest celebration, and thankfully, we only had one very minor injury during the weekend. A little boy scraped his finger at the playground and desperately needed a bandaid. We were grateful that the Delta County Ambulance District (DCAD) had a crew on site all weekend long during the event, and was able to help the child. And we're thankful that those crewmembers are always there, always ready and willing to assist in medical emergencies, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

That got us to thinking... what happens when a crew isn't always there? What if one of our event attendees had a heart attack, and, due to the district's desperate financial situation, the Surface Creek area did not have a dedicated ambulance crew at our disposal? What if one of our vendors suffered from dehydration and needed help? What if one of our volunteers had tripped lifting the heavy barricades, and injured herself? What if, what if, what if?

The board of directors of the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce does not want to play the "what if" game, and is choosing to publicly support the district's request for a mill levy increase. The services DCAD staff provides every day is vitally important in our community. The loss of services and personnel due to a lack of funding is simply not an option.

How can we, as a chamber that partners with both member and nonmember businesses, as well as county tourism and economic development efforts, effectively recruit businesses, continue to offer amazing events, and generally work towards bettering our communities if the very basic infrastructure is not in place? To be successful, to contribute to the local economy, the business community needs basic services to be in place. That includes things like broadband and roads, of course, but we also believe that infrastructure should include things like a fully-funded emergency services provider. If our county cannot effectively offer emergency medical services, or fire protection, or any other basic service, why would a business choose to set up shop here? Why would a family choose to move here, if we're lacking those very basic services?

We understand that DCAD has operated on a very tight, lean budget, dipping into reserves when necessary to continue to offer excellent emergency medical services. We applaud efforts to trim the budget and yet maintain service. We thank staff, who've gone without pay increases for years, for dedicating themselves to our community. And now it's the community's turn to lend a hand. It is in the overall best interest of the district, and our county as a whole, that voters approve the Delta County Ambulance District's mill levy increase request in November. A yes vote will increase your annual taxes by just $23.40 for every $100,000 in residential property, and $94.25 for every $100,000 in commercial property.

What a small price to pay to ensure we have at our disposal the highly-skilled, competent, caring hands of our EMS crews. To us, it's a no-brainer, and we hope voters agree with us, and vote yes on Delta County Ambulance District Ballot Issue 5A.

Nick Streza
President
Board of Directors

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