Today is Election Day with just one item on the ballot. Measure 20-322 is approved will continue the Levy for Western Lane Ambulance services. There has been much debate over the past several months with local business owner Larry Farnsworth leading the charge to see the Levy defeated. Farnsworth says there are more expenses out there than just the levy and he believes at some point it will become relevant.
“When you add to the fact that we have an egregious overtime scheduling model, what we’re doing is we are really increasing the amount we owe when the state decides that we have to pay it.”
Farnsworth was speaking about the unfunded liability and all that it encompases it. Western Lane Ambulance Board member Mike Webb says a lot has been said to muddy the waters. For one the reason for the levy.
“The tax base for the district was established back in the early 1990s at .319 cents per thousand at that point in time Medicare and Medicaid were reimbursing at full billing amounts or close.”
Now Webb says the rate is about 25% of that amount. And in order to keep qualified staff and updated equipment the levy was established. He says overtime the community has changed and has become more retirement oriented and the service calls have increased dramatically. Voters will know the results by late this evening. Ballots are due by 8pm.
Wind Watch Coming
The National Weather Service is predicting high winds for the Oregon coast as a storm moves in off the Pacific Ocean late tomorrow evening. The storm is expected to bring wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour with steady winds between 20 and 30 miles per hour. Damaging winds could cause power outages and blow down trees. The high wind watch is expected to last through Thursday afternoon.
The Weekend numbers came in and Oregon Health Authority has reported 2,569 new or presumptive COVID-19 cases. Lane County reported 195 new cases. Deaths were lower with only 5 reported over the three day period. New COVID numbers for the 97439 zip code will be out later this morning. There are currently 724 cases all time for Florence. Lane County is reporting an almost 23% drop in weekly cases.
Pediatric Vaccination Clinic Announced
Lane County Public Health has tentatively scheduled a pediatric vaccination clinic for COVID-19. The proposed date is Saturday November 20th at the Siuslaw Middle School. There is currently no time frame for the event. There are several other pediatric clinics elsewhere in Lane County. Information for the clinics can be found at lanecounty.org/vaxclinics