Borrowing money necessary to start health care district

As an entirely new public entity, there are activities we are compelled to do, such as borrow money.

As Vashon Health Care District moves methodically forward, developing both our infrastructure and simultaneously planning how to support access to primary health care, let me assure you that such progress is never done in a cavalier manner. Anyone who has attended our weekly public meetings would also attest to that fact.

As an entirely new public entity, there are activities we are compelled to do, such as borrow money. The district was formed at such a time in the calendar such that our first revenue will trickle in May of 2021. We have solicited the resources of the King County treasury’s interfund loan program to sustain our efforts, with a budget that includes an amortized payback schedule. Without those funds, we could not move forward; canvass the community to assess health care needs or support our current care provider, Neighborcare Health.

We are looking — in all aspects of what we do — at minimizing our expenditures: from finding kindly-donated office space; to procuring reconditioned computers; to having unpaid commissioners; to see that this endeavor is as lean an operation as possible — yet still getting the job done.

The electorate of Vashon has overwhelmingly told us that they care about accessible health care that is sustainable and history has told us that without a public-private partnership, the operations on Sunrise Ridge will cease to exist. They have also overwhelmingly elected a group of commissioners that they trusted with their tax dollars and we commissioners hold that trust to be sacred.

It is quite simple and unproductive to take potshots at a public entity without delving into the complexities under which they are obligated to operate; we have welcomed — and continue to welcome on a weekly basis — constructive criticism in helping us mold a district that serves all on Vashon.

— Don Wolczko

Editor’s note: Wolczko is one of five members of the board of commissioners for the Vashon Health Care District. He wrote this letter in response to a community member’s letter to the editor on district funding that ran in the Jan. 16 edition of The Beachcomber.