By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
Residents of Hardy County who have not paid the Emergency Ambulance Fee will be given one more chance to pay before the end of the county’s fiscal year.
The Hardy County Commission met on Tuesday, May 20 and two of the three commissioners voted to send statements to those residents who have not paid. Commissioner A. J. Wade voted against the motion.
“I don’t think we should do anything until we see if the fee is nullified,” Wade said.
A group of citizens have petitioned Circuit Court to nullify the Special Emergency Ambulance Ordinance, which authorizes the collection of the fee. A hearing on that petition has not be scheduled.
“We might not get a ruling for awhile,” said Commission President J. Michael Teets.
“Everyone knows the fee is due,” Commissioner William “JR” Keplinger said.
“The Prosecuting Attorney said we must abide by the ordinance until it is nullified,” Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority President Greg Greenwalt said.
There will be no late fees added to the billing, as the commission voted last month to postpone all late fees until July. Greenwalt suggested if residents paid a late fee, it could be credited to their next year’s obligation.
Greenwalt said the Sheriff’s Tax Office has received approximately $350,000 from citizens who have paid the ambulance fee. About half of the residents of the county have paid.
“The commission will have to make several decisions come July 1,” Greenwalt said. “You will have to decide whether to re-implement the fee and how to deal with those who have not paid.”
Wade reiterated his objection. “I don’t think we should send out anything until there is a ruling from the court as to whether the fee is valid,” he said.
“I don’t see a problem,” Teets said. “We did everything according to state code.”
Greenwalt asked the commission to decide disposition of the generator that was removed from the Baker building. A motion was made, seconded and approved to take bids on the old generator.
Greenwalt reported the county has received a grant to cover the cost of two cardiac monitors and additional equipment. The HCEAA will purchase the equipment and submit invoices for reimbursement.
Greenwalt also reported the HCEAA will be accepting applications for a director, two additional paramedics and a secretary/clerk.
Teets asked Greenwalt the status of drivers for the east side of the county. Drivers of EMS equipment must be certified. There has been a shortage of drivers.