Many people have headed to the polls early to cast ballots in Monroe County to elect public officials, but an item of equal importance is up for consideration to residents – an ambulance levy.
For nearly three years, the Monroe County Commission scrambled to raise funds to keep ambulance service available for residents after the Union Rescue Squad ended operations in 2017.
A $100 ambulance fee was imposed on landowners who had any livable structure on their property. Three years later, failed attempts to collect that fee and a dismissed lawsuit has given way to a levy placed on the General Election ballot for voters to determine.
The ambulance levy states:
“Regular session to authorize levies for the years beginning July 1, 2021, July 1, 2022, July 1, 2023, July 1, 2024 and July 1, 2025, for the purpose of the General Current Expense Fund, according to the order of the County Commission of Monroe County.
Direct services to the following:
1. Salaries for two personnel for each of the two ambulance providers for 24-hour ambulance service countywide $525,600
2. Required tax obligations on salaries (FICA 7.65%, Unemployment 1.5% and Workers Comp 1.5%) $55,977
3. EMS Coordinator Salary and Benefits: $35,989
4. Overtime for second calls when the first ambulance is out responding to a call and for providing ambulance service at extracurricular and community events, when available: $84,101
5. A cost of living pay increase for ambulance provider personnel at 2% for each of the five years of the levy: $43,325
That the approximate amount for said purposes, after making due allowance for delinquencies and exonerations, is approximately $700,665 annually, and the total approximate amount to be expended during the term of this levy is $3,503,325.
That the proposed additional rate of levy in cents on each class of property shall be as follows:
Class I: 5; Class II: 10; Class III: 20; and Class IV: 20.”
Currently STAT EMS is providing ambulance service to roughly half of Monroe County with Peterstown Fire & Rescue covering the rest.
Monroe County Commission President Bill Miller told The West Virginia Daily News that this situation is set to be reevaluated upon the first of 2021.