Lopez residents can’t afford a tax-funded clinic | Letter

Not if the entire bill were paid for by residents. Fact: only about 42% of the 2406 homes on Lopez are owner-occupied, i.e., by the people who pay property taxes. Most of the remaining 58% are owned by people who neither live nor vote on Lopez. This means that about $4.6 million of the approximately $7.5 million collected annually in property taxes are paid by off-islanders.* They are subsidizing our essential services: schools, road maintenance, fire and emergency services, the Library, the Dump, to name a few. We are now being asked to raise our tax burden to fund a Public Hospital District. If the vote doesn’t pass, we can expect to lose a great deal if not all of our medical services. But here’s the catch: when you vote for creation of the Public Hospital District, you are in essence voting to have more than half your tax bill paid by non-residents (who, remember, don’t get to vote). Without their “contribution,” Lopez would be a much less livable place. How often do you get such a bargain? Vote YES, and thank a summer person. * https://goo.gl/yxOnKT, https://goo.gl/ocfAwX.

Gene Helfman

Lopez Island