Commissioners take steps to claim added state funds for county EMS & fire services

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners set up a new fund account and approved an invoice to the state on November 1 for new money available for emergency medical services (EMS) employee salaries.

County officials created the “County Fire Protection Fund” to hold money that will be given to counties for their fire departments under legislation passed by the West Virginia Legislature.

Commissioner Joel Tuttle explained that a $12 million fund for fire service in West Virginia will be divided in multiple ways – some for each department in the state, partially determined by population and call volume.

Morgan County expects to see an additional $45,000  to $50,000 for the county’s four fire departments. That’s on top of money the fire departments receive directly from the state.

County officials also created the “EMS Salary Enhancement Fund” to receive money meant to add to the pay of EMS workers in West Virginia. State lawmakers approved the action as a way to attract and retain emergency medical workers as the state faces a critical shortage of certified responders.

Commissioners said some counties have already gotten the added funds, but Morgan County has not.

The county will receive $143,763 to distribute to Morgan County EMS workers.