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Board to run ambulance service in Morgan Co.

August 15, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- An ambulance board for Morgan County was approved by the Morgan County Commission and will go into effect Oct. 1.

At Thursday's commission meeting, Kevin Duckwall, chief of administration for Morgan County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), said in order to do a better job for the county, a board was created to run the ambulance service.

The board will manage the funds just as the Morgan County Fire Board does, but will not have the ability to raise fees, commission President Brenda J. Hutchinson said.

"The county commission sets the fee," she said.

The county no longer is involved in managing the EMS.

"We are out of it," Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said.

When the ambulance fee was established in 2007, a contract to provide services between EMS in Morgan County and Paw Paw, W.Va., was made, and each agency was given money. Now, the board will manage the money, Duckwall said.

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The ambulance board will pay the county an annual 6.5 percent of the fees collected, which will be used to defray the costs incurred by the Morgan County Sheriff's Tax Office to process the fees, said Kim Michael, the county's tax deputy.

However, any outstanding ambulance fees not collected after 90 days no longer will be handled by the tax office, Michael said.

The ambulance board will be responsible for turning them over to a collection agency, Duckwall said.

About $282,000 in ambulance fees for 2007, 2008 and 2009 have not been paid, Michael said.

She said since it became known that a collection agency will be involved, some people have paid their fees.

"People on a fixed income are paying the fee more than those people who are not," Michael said.

Duckwall said people are needed to serve on the ambulance board. Applications for the volunteer four-year term can be filled out at the Morgan County Commission office, he said.

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