By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
Hardy County residents have until Dec. 31, 2013 to pay the Ambulance Fee before late fees will be assessed, according to the Hardy County Commission.
The commission met in regular session on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
“Since the bills are going out in September, should we set the due date back before additional charges are added?” asked County Clerk Gregg Ely.
“We should go with Dec. 31,” Commission President J. Michael Teets said.
At their Aug. 2 meeting, the commission assessed an ambulance fee of $10 per month per resident to fund the Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority. Since then, several challenges in processing the invoices have been discovered.
Establishing a data base of addresses and mailing the more than 8,000 notices has proven to be cumbersome and the county has required outside assistance.
Sara Young, a Hardy County resident, submitted the first hardship exoneration request to the commission.
“I followed proper protocol and went to the Ambulance Authority first,” she said. “But they suggested I come to the commission. I have the form filled out.”
Young said she and her husband have made the financial commitment to get Emergency Vehicle Operation Certification (EVOC) and are in the process of being trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). She requested exoneration based on that situation.
“This is the first one we’ve gotten,” Teets said. “We’ll have to talk about it.”
At the Aug. 20 meeting, Teets said the HCEAA can make recommendations about hardship cases, but the commission will make the final decision.
It is unclear as to what constitutes a hardship as the commission has yet to establish qualification criteria.
Greg Greenwalt, president of the Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority presented an agreement between the county and the Mathias Baker Volunteer Fire Department to provide emergency ambulance service on the east side of the county.
“They are a volunteer organization, we don’t need to sign anything,” Teets said.
Greenwalt agreed that West Virginia code does not require ambulance services to be contractually bound to the county.
“We (HCEAA) passed a resolution to allow them to take calls,” he said. “They are licensed and have bought two ambulances.”
Greenwalt said there were contracts in 2006, but they weren’t renewed.
Sara Young said she understood the County Commission is responsible for the 911 Center and the 911 Center cannot dispatch calls to the Mathias Baker Volunteer Fire Department unless advised to do so by the County Commission.
“I didn’t know that,” Teets said. “Wasn’t Mathias getting calls?”
HCEAA Vice President Ted Garrett said Wardensville was called first, then Baker, then Mathias. “If they don’t get a response, they will call Fraleys” he said.
Commissioner A. J. Wade asked if the agreement could be tied to the existing map…