The almost 11,000 voters who passed measure 5-209 need to respond to public comments made by commissioner Earl Fisher regarding public health care.
As far as the health district's 2004 initiative to build a critical-access hospital, it clearly stated the special taxing district was not expected to fund public health. But that is exactly what has happened and from Commissioner Fisher's comments he is still trying to make sure that continues.
He commented about seamless transition indicating his support and approval of the current boards efforts to dissolve the district and abandon their contract with the county. His most confusing statement is that the county commissioners would have the final decision about the county's public health services when previously they answered questions by saying they knew nothing about it and had no power over it.
This contradictory disclosure from our county officials only helps continue to mislead and confuse the public.
The most disingenuous comment commissioner Fisher made is about an audit of the CHD not being necessary because they are done annually. Yes, audits may have been done as required, but by whom and with what final report.
The CHD has not made that information public. Seventy-three percent of the voters, despite Commissioner Fisher's description of us as being merely 'some public pressure,' want to know where our taxes have gone since 2006 when the CHD could not qualify to build a critical-access hospital.
A new board would have to obtain an independent and thorough audit in order to determine not only how the taxes were used but also what may remain in order to proceed with any refunds as voted for. No way around it and no way to avoid it if the commissioner's and CHD are being honest in their comments about transparency and honesty with the public.
Commissioner Fisher further commented that the tax rate would disappear if the CHD is dissolved, which is not necessary accurate. The current CHD board could attempt to pass the tax through to their already existing nonprofit foundation (which curiously already has Jay Tappan sitting on it) prior to a new board being sworn into position in July.
Because this board is appointed and not elected, the public would have no say of who is on it or any of its actions because they would not be required to have public meetings and input.
At the CHD's last work session they even discussed this as an advantage.
This may be only one of the reasons the current CHD board chose not to run for their current positions in that they already have their new board appointed to take over.
Perhaps, considering Commissioner Fisher's previous position on the fire district board and connection to Jay Tappan, chair of the current CHD, he has been influenced to assist Mr Tappan and his CHD board to continue to take, spend and not inform the public about using our taxes on their abandoned hospital project, but instead continue on with no regard for the almost 11,000 voters who supported 5-209 by funneling the taxes away into public health.
Without support from our county commissioner's, what will it require for the voices of the voters and taxpayers not only to be heard but acted on. Hopefully a new board can get the job done provided the CHD is not allowed to dissolve itself by the commissioners and has not absconded with all of the district's taxes through public health and the CHD's new nonprofit proposal.
It seems that not only Commissioner Fisher but the CHD board need a reminder that we still live in a democracy and we wish our voices not only heard but acted on by our elected officials.
We currently have a block of five women running in an attempt to uphold the vote of the people. They are Tammy Maygra, Carrie Cason, Georgia Keiper, Madalene Anderson and Peggy Crisp.
- Peggy Crisp, St. Helens