RANSON, W.Va. - Commissioners in Jefferson County have passed an ordinance for an ambulance fee."The fee is going to be charged to residences and commercial buildings," said County Commissioner Jane Tabb. "$40 per resident, $85 per commercial building."
The fee will help cover the staffing at the Emergency Services Agency so that they have more people to respond quicker to emergencies that may occur in the area.
"They get stacked up, they get multiple calls at one time," Tabb said. "There's just not the resources in the county to decrease the response times. That's what they want to do is decrease the response times, and have staff available at all times to respond to calls."
The ESA will determine where the staff will be placed, whether it's at the fire departments or the ESA building itself. The county said the ESA was getting over one million dollars a year, but it was enough to cover all the ambulance calls. There also wasn't enough money in the county's budget to give to the ESA."It's the only way we can raise more revenue," Tabb said. "West Virginia has a percentage rate that you can't raise taxes any higher. We are almost at that maximum taxable rate."
The ESA has been informed about the fee taking place, but were unable to comment about their reaction to having more staff on board to respond to emergency situations.
"The JC (Jefferson County) ESA board has not had time to review the plan for implementation and comment," said Deputy Director Ed Hannon. "Those comments will come from the president Alan Williams after they have reviewed the ordinance."
Commissioners say they hope to get invoices out by July, and that the fee will not on go the residents' property tax. The fee will be a separate bill that will be sent out by the county commission, and then transferred to the ESA.