I have lived in Grays Harbor all my life, am a retired volunteer fireman and 10-plus year Fire District 15 Commissioner.
Being involved in governing a taxing district is a difficult job, especially when no one wants to pay taxes. Convincing people to tax themselves through levies is tricky when not everyone uses the services every day.
Our fire departments exist to be there when needed but costs are on-going. Grays Harbor Community Hospital is in a similar position.
Just as I can’t imagine reduced or no services from our fire district, I cannot picture Grays Harbor without a fully functional hospital that includes a Level III trauma center.
We will all pay taxes one way or another to support emergency services. Transporting a huge increase in patients out of the county will cost all fire departments and districts so they will have to turn to the voters for more funding.
With the prospect of reduced services current physicians may leave, and it will be harder to recruit new ones. Think about how many trips to Olympia or farther we will all have to make if our physician pool is reduced.
A few tanks of gas will quickly burn up what a property tax increase would be.
We may think Grays Harbor is in a bad place economically now. Well, if there were no full-service hospital here businesses will be unwilling to locate where their employees have difficulty getting services.
Making sure we have facilities here able to take care of all of us when we need it is necessary for our quality of life and for the better future we all hope for Grays Harbor.
In the spirit of full disclosure I am married to current Community Hospital Board member and candidate for Public Hospital District 2 Commissioner Maryann Welch.