Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 15, 2013

Hardy County commission can collect ambulance fees

$120 charge OK, W.Va. attorney general says

MOOREFIELD, W.Va. — As the feud between some 700 registered voters and two of the three Hardy County commissioners continues to escalate, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday, “The county commissioners have a constitutional duty to manage a county’s fiscal affairs, and thus collect any special fees.”

The ambulance authority does not have the power to collect special fees, Morrisey said.

The opinion from Morrisey was requested by Lucas See, county prosecuting attorney.

“We have not been asked to decide, however, whether a county commission could delegate its statutory power to an emergency ambulance authority,” Morrisey said.

In addition to the county commission placing a $120 ambulance fee on the residents in the county, voters say the commission purchased a $1.13 million building without taxpayers’ approval.

The commission passed an ordinance at the Nov. 12 meeting to place a levy on the ballot in the May election that would benefit the ambulance service in the county.

Earlier this month, attorney David Judy, representing the dissatisfied voters, filed suit against two commissioners to have them removed from office.

After hearing about Morrisey’s opinion Friday, Judy said, “This doesn’t have an impact on our case at all. It doesn’t change anything about what we are doing. Our position is that the ordinance is invalid from the beginning.”

“We have requested the courts to repeal the ordinance and remove the two county commissioners through the court system.”

 An attachment to the suit filed by Judy included 700 signatures asking for commission president Michael Teets and Commissioner William Keplinger Jr. to be removed from their position.

 Teets said Wednesday, an attorney has been hired.

“We have hired an attorney with Steptoe and Johnson, Martinsburg. Our attorney will be Bridget Cohee,” Teets said.

Teets said an answer regarding the suit has to be filed “sometime around the 25th.”

“I hate this situation for our county.”

Funding for the attorney will come from the West Virginia Corp. County Risk Pool, which holds the “removal” insurance policy as well as other insurances for the county, Teets said.

The levy would benefit Hardy County ambulance services and would raise tax on all classes for five years.

Although class one, which is 2.6 cents, is no longer in effect, the other classes are based on that figure.

The levy on class two will be 5.2 cents on $100 value, which includes personal and real property.

Classes three and four will have 10.4 cents levied.

One of the voters calls the actions of the commission “a debacle.”

John Elmore, who is a business owner and voter in the county,  said Friday that he does not have much faith in the county’s prosecuting attorney.

Elmore said previous statements given by See to the county commission were not in accordance with the state code, in his opinion.

 “The reason for the levy is to fix the debacle that exists now. This is an incompetent group. Things they’ve done thus far have been done if not illegally but with total disregard to the public,” Elmore said.

“Incompetence reins.”

Teets insists he doesn’t know what they have done wrong.

“We’ve done everything according to state code. I can see if we’d embezzled money for personal gain. We’ve done nothing like that,” Teets said.

Judy said regardless of the pending suit, the $120 ambulance fee continues to be collected from the taxpayers.

“Even if the levy is voted down in the election, the ordinance remains,” Judy said.

Judy said the only thing that would make it go away is a court ruling.

He said a hearing will be set to be heard by a three-judge panel to set the procedure on how it’s going to work.

“Taking the ordinance out is different from removing the commissioners from office. I’m not sure whether a local circuit judge makes a decision on the ordinance and the three-judge panel makes the decision whether to remove them from office,” Judy said.

Contact Marla Pisciotta at

Text Only
Local News
  • Lexis Trickett meets with Gov. Martin O’Malley Ninth-grader among 30 at inaugural event

    OAKLAND — Lexis Trickett, a ninth-grade student at Southern Garrett High School, was among 30 girls who attended Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Leadership Forum for Women and Girls recently in Annapolis in celebration of Women’s History Month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • School immunization requirements change

    CUMBERLAND — Changes to school immunization requirements by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the next school year.

    April 20, 2014

  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Game on: City interested in baseball study

    After it looked like the objection of a couple of constituents to a study on the feasibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area may have torpedoed the thought, county commissioners and some city officials sounded ready to sing a chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Thursday.

    April 18, 2014

  • DEREK SHEELY Charges against helmet maker stand in case of Frostburg player’s death

    A Montgomery County judge this week declined to dismiss charges against a helmet manufacturer in a case brought by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died of head injuries in August 2011 following four straight days of heavy contact drills in practice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GAYLE MANCHIN W.Va. BOE president speaks on issues at WVSDB

    West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin responded to issues at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind during an interview with the Times-News Wednesday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • REGINALD REDMAN Moorefield man jailed on felony drug count

    A Moorefield man was arrested on various charges Thursday, including a felony drug offense for possession of amphetamines, according to the Keyser Police Department.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blossoming optimism Blossoming optimism

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read
News related video
Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military