KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Commission voted down a proposed change to the county ambulance authority bylaws that would have allowed the ambulances to expand nonemergency transports.
Currently, nonemergency ambulance transport is restricted to crew members and immediate family, and the proposed change would have expanded it to anybody, according to Dr. Richard Lechliter.
The expansion would cause competition with private companies like Valley Medical, said Lechliter.
“The private company is very much opposed to it and so are many of the other companies,” said Lechliter. “I feel the exemptions that they already have is enough.”
The bylaws have to be approved by the commission because the ambulance levy money is provided by the taxpayers, according to Lechliter.
“The intent of the levy was to provide emergency response,” said Mike Bland, county coordinator.
If the bylaws were changed, it could lead to a situation where the ambulance was being used for a nonemergency that would cause the vehicle to be unavailable for a taxpaying citizen with an emergency, noted commission president Janice LaRue.
Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, the commission ap-proved a long-awaited community participation grant agreement and resolution for $7,000 for the Frankfort District Food Pantry. The grant can’t be used on food but can be used on shelving and equipment.
The grant was delayed because the county was attempting to ascertain what entity it needed to contact to get its paperwork in order.
Last year, a fire broke out in Fort Ashby and destroyed 4,000 cans of food at the pantry, as well as some equipment.
Following the fire, there was a request to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office for $7,000, which included $3,000 for food and $4,000 for equipment.
The food pantry opened in September of last year.
The commission also approved the following community participation grant applications: $2,000 for the 4-H Leaders Association; $1,000 for the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department; $3,000 for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Fort Ashby Post 6667 for Junior Baseball League; $1,000 for the Fountain Volunteer Fire Department; $2,000 for the Friends of Jennings Randolph Lake; $1,500 for the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office; and $1,000 for the Short Gap VFD.
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at email@example.com.