Thank you for publishing the story “…Disappointed but determined!” in the March 23rd issue. Jennifer Britt’s article discussed efforts to fund EMS more adequately through amendment to an existing state law–and the amendment did not make it out of the state legislature.
Funding important county services like EMS is critical. I can appreciate the very hard job the County Commission has. The challenge is in finding funding instruments that provide the needed funds but do not negatively impact county businesses or further burden lower-income residents.
According to the National Association of Counties, of which Tucker County is a member, the fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill signed into law on March 15th of this year “includes several key investments of importance to counties… [including] increased federal funding for rural development, broadband and public health programs, one-year of full, mandatory funding of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program (PILT), and an increased federal cost share for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance programs” (https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/fy-22-appropriations). Investments in areas such as power and energy, transportation, and water, are above and beyond those made in the previously passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These investments by the federal government represent additional hope for easing the current challenges in funding, for EMS as well as other areas of key county services.
This raises some questions, however: How do we build a peaceful, pleasant, and prosperous future here in Tucker County–including stable funding for necessary county services? Continuing to leverage our county assets on the state level is only a part of the solution. What should the county’s priorities be, going forward, and how do we attain them?