Commissioners spend $100,000 to beef up

August 11, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commission agreed Thursday to spend $100,000 to beef up ambulance service in Shepherdstown, but not before one commissioner again expressed concerns about the commission's spending practices.

Commission President Greg Corliss complained last week about the commission being "undisciplined" in its spending, and on Thursday, he raised concerns again about the commission setting a budget, then making additional expenditures.

"We have a budget process, but it means nothing," Corliss said. "I don't think it's financially responsible."

The increased funding for ambulance service comes after a county ambulance official told the commissioners recently that ambulance crews are being burdened with increased calls, and it sometimes takes 20 minutes or more for ambulances to reach patients.

Ed Smith, operations manager for the Jefferson County Ambulance Authority, said in May that he wanted to add a couple of paramedics for the Shepherdstown area because response times to that town have been running up to about 20 minutes in some cases during the day.


At that time, Commissioner Jim Surkamp attempted to give the ambulance authority about $231,000 to help it increase services, but the effort was unsuccessful.

Surkamp on Thursday proposed giving the ambulance authority $100,000 to help it add two more emergency medical technicians for the Shepherdstown area.

Commissioner Dale Manuel has said he would like to see towns in the county help with ambulance funding. On Thursday, Manuel offered an amendment to Surkamp's motion that would give $50,000 to the ambulance authority in hopes other funding would come from the cities.

Corliss seconded Manuel's motion, but it failed after Surkamp and fellow commission members Jane Tabb and Rusty Morgan voted against it.

The commission then voted unanimously to give the $100,000 to the ambulance authority.

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