Health care, education are important

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In February citizens of Columbia County and Waitsburg will be asked to approve a one-year technology levy for the Columbia County Hospital District. Additionally, both Dayton and Waitsburg will be running their respective school district levies. These are important levies that will support future health care, education and economic growth in our communities.

The Hospital District and its health system, which includes Dayton General Hospital, the Columbia Family Clinic, the Waitsburg Clinic and Booker Rest Home is faced with a federal mandate.

This mandate requires the Hospital District to invest in an electronic medical records system throughout the health system.

A yes vote will insure that the health system's current level of service will remain intact. With electronic records upgrade: improved and responsive care will be provided; continue timely Medicare and Medicaid will be received; personal health records will be safeguarded and confidential.

A no vote will mean the Columbia County Health System cannot meet the federal mandate resulting in reduced reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid. This financial reduction will significantly impact existing services within the Health System.

A yes vote for our school system maintenance and operations levies would provide the districts with necessary yearly revenues in 2011 and 2012, replacing the current M&O levy. The levy amounts are as a result of increased operational and maintenance costs and increases in cost associated with employee health and retirement benefits. In addition, there is a real potential for reductions in the level of state funding for schools.

A no vote will have significant impact on education initiatives and funding for maintenance and operations of the system in 2011 and 2012.

While these decisions are difficult, it is time to make the hard, right choice. Please think about the ramification and consequences versus the health care and education of our families and future economic growth. Supporting these levies is an important investment in our communities. Please join me in a yes vote.

Ted Paterson
Dayton

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