Endorsement: Vote for the safety levy

Every time it has been up for consideration since 1973, Kanawha County voters have passed the Ambulance, Bus & Emergency Services Levy.

This year should be no different.

The levy is on the ballot in the May 13 primary election. If 60 percent or more of those voting select “for the levy,” it will continue as is for another four years.

The Kanawha County safety levy may be one of the best bargains in local government.

At a cost to the average household of 18 cents per day, all 191,000 residents across the 913 square mile area of the county receive critical protection in case of emergency. Levy funds ensure that ambulances will be able to provide responsive quality service when you dial 911.

With passage, the Ambulance Authority will be able to continue to operate its 40 ambulances out of 14 stations spread around the county. Last year, that authority answered about 146 calls per day, responding to 90 percent of those in less than eight minutes.

Besides ambulance response, the passage of the levy will maintain funding for local fire and police departments, who depend on the levy for $650,000 each year in public safety grants. But its not just that money that those departments benefit from with the levy’s passage. Approval of the levy makes those departments eligible for matching funds from the state and federal governments -- funds that would otherwise dry up.

The levy also helps provide transportation service through the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority. Local residents take 2.8 million bus trips along the KRT’s 22 routes each year, providing many residents with the only transportation available to get to their school, their job, or to do their shopping or visit their doctor.

This is not a tax increase. Renewal of the emergency services levy simply continues an existing tax that voters first approved 41 years ago.

There are many reasons to vote to continue the bus and ambulance levy. The services it ensures are essential to a livable community.

Remember to vote on May 13, and vote YES on the levy.

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