(09/14/2002)
Ambulance service is on the brink of collapse in Clay County, after a meeting of the Clay Commission disclosed the fund had $4,300 left in the account and a payroll is pending. West Virginia EMS temporarily tried to re-group the faltering service last winter, which once had sub-stations around the county.

County Commissioners said the only alternative may be to turn the service over to private ambulance companies, which require payment for service delivered. The providers mentioned, General and JanCare ambulance.

During a recent Commission meeting, fingers got pointed at who to blame, including the Commission, which some said have drug their feet in trying to respond to the ambulance crisis. Some of the commissioners blamed the now defunct Ambulance Authority.

At the heart of the matter, Clay citizens have been unwilling to underwrite the service with tax money through a levy, and have relied on a voluntary donation of $25 to keep it going. Those donations were not forthcoming.

A Clay County official, who did not want to be identified, told The Hur Herald "The people will get what they pay for. They don't want to pay for ambulance service, so they will not get much ambulance service. These private outfits make you pay."

Calhoun has a levy to support emergency services, including the 911 center. Some voting districts are voting against the levy, and some have turned in down.

Several neighboring counties, mostly because of financial reasons, have contracted with other 911 centers to provide service, and relied on volunteers to provide emergency service. Volunteer services in neighboring counties, at times, have been slow or sometimes unable to respond.

Clay, Gilmer, Ritchie and Wirt Counties do not have their own 911 center.


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