PARSONS – Tucker County Commissioners focused on the possible mandatory ambulance fee during Wednesday’s meeting. Commissioner Diane Hinkle read a letter they received from the Timberline Association Board of Directors saying the group supports a mandatory county-wide ambulance fee.
“We think fully funding the ambulance service is crucial to Canaan Valley and Tucker County,” Hinkle said while reading the letter. “The Timberline community relies on the service, especially during the ski season and we hope the Commission agrees and makes the fee mandatory.
Hinkle also read a letter from Father Timothy Grassi, Tucker County Catholic Pastor.
“As a person and as a Priest, one of my greatest passions is respect for human life,” Hinkle said. “The Ambulance Authority asked Commissioners to make the ambulance fee mandatory. I was deeply saddened when the voluntary fee only generated $15,000 when it was intended to generate $175,000.”
“The availability of the ambulance is critical and the expertise of the squad members is invaluable,” Fr. Grassi said. “The paramedics can mean the difference between life and death and there is a price to pay for what they do for us as a community. They deserve a fair wage. I am placing my wholehearted support of a mandatory ambulance fee.”
Commission President Lowell Moore said they have been studying the possibility of a mandatory ambulance fee.
“There are not enough funds to support the ambulance,” Moore said. “I look at the budget every month and see the month to month struggle. Last year, we made an ordinance to impose a $25 voluntary fee and got very little response.”
Moore made a motion to develop an ordinance to change the option to a mandatory fee.
“We will present the ordinance at the next meeting,” Moore said. “The ordinance will be read three different times. When we bring the ordinance to the meeting, we will have a dollar amount for the fee.”
The next Tucker County Commission meeting is slated for 9 a.m. May 10 in the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom.