By Jean A. Flanagan
The Hardy County Commission reversed a decision they made last month and voted Friday to assess a $10 per month ambulance fee and go ahead with the purchase of the former Mathias Baker Rescue Squad building.
Commission President J. Michael Teets said several people have contacted him about the fee and the building and said the commissioners made a mistake.
At the July 16 meeting, the commissioners voted not to impose an ambulance fee and not to purchase the MBRS building. The decision came after two contentious public meetings where county residents berated the commissioners and vehemently opposed the proposals.
The MBRS building had been taken by the Capon Valley Bank for lack of payment and was auctioned in public on June 11. The Hardy Count Emergency Ambulance Authority, under the direction of the County Commission, placed the winning bid of $1.13 million.
At Friday’s meeting, more than 30 people packed the commission room to express their disappointment that the commission had virtually abandoned the HCEAA. Their decision not to assess a fee left the organization without a funding source. Emergency Medical Technician George Crump spoke for the group.
Crump congratulated the commission for appointing the HCEAA. “The best decision you ever made was to form the Hardy County Ambulance Authority and hire a medic,” he said.
Crump commended the HCEAA for coming up with the plan to continue EMS coverage of the Mathias and Baker areas when the bank had foreclosed on the rescue squad’s building and equipment.
The County Commission gave the HCEAA $150,000 to purchase two ambulances and a chase vehicle from the bank and license them under the Wardensville Rescue Squad. One ambulance was parked in Baker and one was located in Mathias. The county paramedic used the chase vehicle.