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Commission Agrees To Set Standard Fire Service Fees

By Staff | Nov 24, 2010

At Tuesday’s Wetzel County Commission meeting New Martinsville Fire Chief Larry Couch presented the commission with a county-wide rate/fee schedule proposal recently passed by the Wetzel County Fire Fighters Association. Couch explained that several fire departments within the county already often bill or request reimbursement for services rendered. But in order to comply with West Virginia Code 7-1-3(d), departments wishing to charge for services must have a rate schedule approved by the county commission.

As outlined in the proposal, individual departments may choose to charge, or not charge, for services. However, the association feels it is in everyone’s best interest to have one county-wide rate/fee schedule that all fire departments will abide by and adhere to. According to the proposal, this rate schedule is not to exceed $500 for any one incident except as allowed in West Virginia Code 7-1-3(d), more specifically known as a Hazardous Materials Incident.

Notably, the proposed schedule does not preclude the fire departments from accepting donations above and beyond those charges imposed and invoiced by the departments. Under this schedule each department would be responsible for its own participation on the allowance of billing and be solely responsible for following commonly acceptable accounting practices in tracking such billings.

The proposal details charging options in various scenarios, such as if an incident occurs in another agency’s coverage area, if a fire department relinquishes command of an incident to another, or if there is a Hazardous Materials Incident.

The participating agencies in the proposed rate schedule include: Grandview Volunteer Fire Department, Paden City Volunteer Fire Company, Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Wileyville Volunteer Fire Department, Reader Volunteer Fire Department, Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Jacksonburg Volunteer Fire Department, Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department, Folsom Volunteer Fire Department, Hundred Volunteer Fire Department, and New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department.

At the conclusion of Couch’s presentation, the commission stated they would write an ordinance and pass it at a later meeting. When enacted, this agreement to a county-wide rate schedule would supersede any and all previously established rate schedules by any and all participating agencies.

Rosy Cozart also met with the commission Nov. 16 to provide the monthly report for the Wetzel County Animal Shelter along with updates. Cozart reminded the commission of the upcoming dinner and auction fund raising event to be held at the Mollohan Center on the 4-H grounds Nov. 27.

A complete Quinet’s Court Restaurant marinara spaghetti dinner will be served at 5 p.m. and costs $8 each.

The auction, organized by Cozart Auction, will follow at 6 p.m. There is no charge to attend the auction which will feature many new and unused items donated from businesses, local and beyond. Tickets for the dinner will be sold at the door and can be purchased ahead of time at the shelter, Dr. White’s, Dr. Barnes’, or Dr. Meckley’s offices. There will also be door prizes and a 50/50 drawing. Cozartauction.com exhibits many of the items up for auction.

Cozart also listed many minor repairs to be made at the shelter including some possible appliance replacements. The commission said they’d have the county’s maintenance department take a look at the items needing repair and act as necessary.

The October report for the shelter is as follows. Dogs: euthanized, zero; adopted, 19; rescued, 10; returned to owner, zero; taken in, 26; in approval/foster, two; present impounds, zero; present quarantines, zero. Cats: euthanized, zero; adopted, one; rescued, one; returned to owner, zero; taken in, three; in approval/foster, zero; present impounds, zero; present quarantines, zero.