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Preston Commission gives more money to EMS services

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Commission voted to give $61,802.99 from its CARES money to the county’s EMS services to help with expenses from the last quarter.

However, Commissioner Dave Price’s initial request was to obligate another $253,434 for additional expenses for the next three quarters.

“I’m disappointed, but to get them their help, for right now, I’m with you for this quarter,” Price said after Commission President Samantha Stone made a motion to only pay last quarter’s expenses. 

Stone said, “I’m not opposed. I am for making sure that we have ambulance coverage. I don’t want anyone to mishear me on that. But I want to make certain … we have a plan moving forward, one that shows financial stability. … I feel that there must be, prior to injecting a bunch of money into something, we’ve got to figure out the best plan for being fiscally responsible so that we don’t ever get back to where it was.”

Commissioner Don Smith said they didn’t want to simply throw money at the problem, they want to fix it.

“I just do not want to commit to anything. I would like additional information. I’m not opposed to some funding today. But I don’t want to commit to three more quarters of a payment under the CARES funding until we have some additional information,” Stone said.

Price withdrew his motion and the commissioners unanimously voted to pay the first quarter’s expenses.

The figures came from the county’s EMS advisory committee, which has been working for many months to improve the county’s EMS services. A lack of EMS coverage is a national problem and especially so in rural counties — with many having no coverage at all. 

According to county administrator Kathy Mace, the money will be split up with $14,634 going to Bruceton, $27,086 to KAMP, $3,697 for Rowlesburg, $18,744 to Terra Alta, and $2,649 to Union.

There was discussion about revisiting the creation of an EMS fee to sustain the service. 

“The fee must be established through the ordinance. I don’t even know that we have gotten that process started. We have several ordinances … I’ve never gotten a nod of which one that you want to send to legal or what you want to do, what this fee is going to pay for, how it’s going to be distributed. I think that needs to be all spelled out,” Mace said.

She said commissioners need to get together with the EMS committee to work through the nuances.

In November 2021, the commission voted to pay $70,036 covering the cost of worker’s compensation for the ambulance services.

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