By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
“The county is allowed to loan money to the ambulance authority until we can implement the fee again,” Hardy County Commissioner William “JR” Keplinger told the Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority Board. The board met on Wednesday, Aug. 13, but because they lacked a quorum, no business was transacted.
Keplinger, a voting member of the HCEAA, is also one of three Hardy County Commissioners.
Last week, Senior Status Judge Andrew N. Frye Jr. ruled the Emergency Ambulance Fee Ordinance was void and ordered the Hardy County Commission to return the money collected to the citizens.
According to HCEAA President Greg Greenwalt, there is $478,538 in the account and a total of $81,240 had been withdrawn.
In regard to reinstating the fee, Greenwalt said it would likely appear on the County Commission agenda for the Sept. 2 meeting. He said the County Commission was making modifications to the ordinance to include a “discount” for senior citizens based on the Homestead Exemption permitted on property taxes.
Property owners age 65 or older, or property owners with a disability, can apply for a Homestead Exemption on their primary residence. If granted, the assessed value of the property is reduced by $20,000.
Greenwalt also said it was suggested to send the refund and the bill for this year in the same envelope to save hundreds of dollars in postage.
“I can’t say for sure about that, but the fee will be implemented sometime soon,” Keplinger said. “We are meeting with our attorney next week to determine our course of action.”