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Changes to Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency Expected

The Jefferson County Commissioners continue to consider proposed changes to the ESA.

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Jefferson County is planning on making changes to its Emergency Services Agency Board. The plan is to abolish the current ESA and replace it with an ESA board composed of more citizen members.

"You're going to have representation from the fire community, from the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) community, and then a non voting member from the fire and rescue committee," said County Commissioner Dale Manuel.

One county commissioner will also be part of the new ESA. One of their goals is to set an ambulance fee and a fire fee for the citizens of Jefferson County to pay annually. The fire companies requested $110,000 for each of their seven companies to cover their personnel. Some of the commissioners wanted the ambulance fee set at 40 dollars, something Manuel says is too low.

"In my opinion that's not enough money and won't get us to where we really want to go in providing service to the citizens of Jefferson County," Manuel said. "I think if you're going to be able to grant that request, you're going to need a fee greater than 40 dollars. It would have to be more like 60 dollars."

Manuel also says the ESA was upset about how low the fees were set at.

"They were very disappointed. They didn't feel like that was an adequate amount a number to provide for the safety of the county."

The fire companies work hard to raise money on their own, with the fees it will make their life easier.

"This is one way you can augment that amount and help them out by providing individuals that will be available to run those costs, and to provide for the safety of the people of Jefferson County," Manuel added.

The fire fee is still being discussed, and the deadline to get the ordinance in place and make the changes is set for July 1st of this year.

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