The South County Health District, like the Elgin Health District, is looking for a funding foundation. It is asking voters within the district, which includes the Union, Cove and North Powder school districts, to approve a three-year local option levy on the May 18 ballot.
The levy would amount to 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for property tax payers. That’s $36 a year for a $100,000 property, $72 for a $200,000 property. The money would go to help ensure there is a clinic in Union, one that plans to expand services to Cove and North Powder.
The levy deserves voters’ support. We wish the district, the formation of which was approved by voters, would have sought a tax base rather than an option levy. A three-year operating levy means that, if approved, the district would have to go out to voters to seek renewal before the levy expires. A tax base would have provided a solid financial foundation — one that every rural health district needs.
Union is lucky to have a clinic. Many small, rural communities don’t. The Union clinic provides nearby access for residents of North Powder and Cove. Contrary to a recent letter to the editor, a Union clinic does not duplicate services in La Grande. It adds to the availability of health care in our region. Ready access to local clinics is important to the well-being of communities of all sizes.
The Union clinic has been in place a long time. The Cove Union Powder Medical Association has managed to keep the clinic running after OHSU said it was withdrawing its support. The clinic has expanded services and added a doctor and a dentist. It’s on the right track. But it needs a firm financial footing. The local option levy will give it that. Vote yes for South County Health District.
Up in the air
The race for the Republican nomination for county commissioner, Position 2, has us perplexed. Bill Rosholt is a great guy. John Lamoreau has some great ideas. But neither inspires our editorial board to the point of making an endorsement in the race.
One of the two will be the Republican nominee and will face off in November against Jim Mollerstrom, an independent, and Democrat Chris Taylor of Cove, who is unopposed in the primary.
Rosholt, although an extremely pleasant person, has not voiced opinions on issues. He says he’ll work with others and find common-sense solutions to issues. But he hasn’t stepped up with any kind of specific message or platform that he would hope to accomplish as a commissioner. Lamoreau, meanwhile, has some ideas that are worthy of endorsement, like negotiating with Horizon Wind to make sure county residents’ electric fees could be reduced if the wind farm goes ahead. He asks questions and doesn’t take every action for granted, which is the way an elected official should be. But there’s another side to John Lamoreau, one that can make him difficult to work with, and one that could surface again.
The Observer editorial board will reserve its judgment until the November race, when voters will actually decide who will be the commissioner who replaces Nellie Hibbert.