LETTER: Vote yes

We have an opportunity to help our East Jefferson Fire and Rescue (EJFR).

Well-trained emergency response personnel are in high demand across the Puget Sound area.

Voting yes on EJFR’s two levy propositions will allow our district to offer meaningful career paths and competitive compensation to attract and retain highly qualified personnel.

Volunteers are another important part of EJFR’s ability to respond.

However, funds are required to provide the ongoing mandated training, equipment and vehicles they need and deserve to do the job effectively and safely.

We are privileged to have volunteers stand up to serve, but it is necessary those volunteers get adequately trained so they can serve all of us professionally.

There has been no rate increase in the EJFR budget since 2011.

Without our consent, the budget can only increase by 1 percent annually, which in essence means the budget of EJFR decreases every year with inflation. However, since 2011, the 9-1-1 emergency calls have increased by nearly 50 percent.

West Thurston County rejected its levy in 2022 by a very small margin. The district had no choice but to close three stations and lay off workers.

Response times in those regions will be longer and fire insurance premiums are expected to rise for some homeowners.

Ballots will arrive in the mail after Jan. 25 and must be returned by Feb. 14.

Please join me in voting yes on both levy propositions. Let’s keep our East Jefferson County strong and protected.

Carol Gonnella