Paid ambulance crews considered

March 23, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commissioners tonight hope to hear how residents view plans for a pilot program to offer a paid ambulance service.

County officials will unveil the plan to have paid medics at a cost of $340,000 a year at tonight's public hearing.

The program would be paid for through a tax increase of $14.10 per $100,000 worth of assessed property.

Tonight's meeting begins at 7:30 at the Jefferson County Planning Commission meeting room.

The Jefferson County Ambulance Authority was created about two years ago after a citizens group determined volunteers needed help in responding to calls, particularly during the day when most of the volunteers work, officials said.


County Commissioner R. Gregory Lance said he favors the plan, but other leaders say they think the program can be paid for without a tax increase.

Commissioner Edgar Ridgeway said the ambulance service should be paid for by those who use it. He said people who call ambulances would be sent bills that their insurance companies would cover.

Commissioner Dean Hockensmith said there should be a plan on how the paid ambulance service will work before the commissioners decide on how to fund it.

"I'm probably more in favor of (paid medics) than anybody else in the room, but I don't want to give them a blank check," Hockensmith said.

"Any action not taken will delay this at least a year, if not 18 months," Lance said.

Lance said the commissioners have to rely on the ambulance authority to come up with a plan that will work.

"You have them there because you rely on their expertise," Lance said.

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