Morgan County Commission briefs

August 30, 2010

Ambulance processing fee made retroactive to July 1

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The Morgan County Commission unanimously agreed to make the 6.5 percent ambulance fee for processing them at the Sheriff's Tax Office retroactive to July 1.

Sheriff's Tax Office Clerk Kim Michael asked for clarification from the commissioners at Thursday's meeting since the new EMS ambulance board does not go into effect until Oct. 1.

Commission president Brenda J. Hutchinson said the 6.5 percent fee that will be retained by the county should start on July 1, which is the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Kevin Duckwall, Morgan County EMS chief of administration, said he would have to object if the money is not available for them to operate the full year.


Chief Deputy Clerk Cathy Payne said the 6.5 percent fee will be retained on a monthly basis, not at the end of the year.

Hutchinson said if the collections stay the same as last year, there would be no problem for them.

The EMS formed an ambulance board that goes into effect next month and will run its operation from the collected ambulance fees paid by county citizens. The 6.5 percent will be kept by the county to offset the workload by the Sheriff's Tax Office who will continue to process the fees.

Sheriff's tax office personnel get increase

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. With a 2-1 vote on Thursday, the Morgan County Commission approved spending $10,120.85, which includes benefits, to the Sheriff's Tax Office personnel.

The additional funding will come from retaining 6.5 percent from the ambulance fees, said Kim Michael, who heads up the tax office.

Commissioner Stacy A. Dugan voted against the increase.

She asked Michael if the staff deserved the raise because they are working harder. She said a lot of the county employees have extra work, but don't get extra money.

"All employees have extra responsibilities," Dugan said.

Michael said since the ambulance fee came into effect in 2007, it has put "a load on our office."

Dugan said she thought by giving out raises and coupled with the cost of $17,000 to mail out the fees, "we will be in the hole."

Michael said the $17,000 annual cost of envelopes and postage includes mailing all fees "because all the bills go (out) together."

She estimated that if EMS had to mail only the ambulance fee itself it would cost about $5,000 a year.

"More work does not mean more money," Dugan said.

Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said "if we didn't do this and turn it over to the ambulance (personnel), it would not work as well."

Swaim said he felt "very strongly" that the tax office personnel deserve the increase.

Commission president Brenda J. Hutchinson agreed with Swaim.

She said this is not asking for additional money for an added workload.

Hutchinson said other personnel receive extra pay like Ginger Johnson, who works with the farmland protection board and Peggy Oakes who works with Office of Emergency Services in 911 addressing.

"It is a separate fund coming from ambulance fees," she said.

County is looking for IT technician

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. Instead of hiring a contractor to replace the county's former Webmaster Aaron Robertson, the Morgan County Commission wants to hire a full-time employee.

"We need to hire someone instead of contracting it out," Commissioner Stacy A. Dugan said Thursday.

The full-time employee to be hired will be the IT technician/Webmaster, Dugan said.

The person will be responsible for the entire courthouse, Commission president Brenda J. Hutchinson said.

- Trish Rudder

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