W.Va. county levy to support EMS for $17.8M over 4 years passes by about 650 votes

"We are very thankful for everyone who supported Mon EMS," said Monongalia EMS Executive Director Forest Weyen


By Ben Conley
The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An excess levy to support emergency medical services to the tune of $17.8 million over the next four years was approved in Monongalia County by about 650 votes Tuesday.

Excess levies need to pass with a 60 % majority. The EMS levy put forward by Mon EMS received 16, 690 votes out of 26, 742 ballots, or 62.4 %.

"We are very thankful for everyone who supported Mon EMS. We're really, really excited about being able to continue to build on the infrastructure we've already started to put in place. We're really looking forward to building the EMS agency that Mon County both deserves and needs, " Mon EMS Executive Director Forest Weyen said.

The levy will generate $17,881,598 over four years, starting with $4,404,241 in the first year and climbing about 1% annually.

In year one, the levy will add an additional 4.66 cents on every $100 of the assessed value of Class II property (owner occupied) and 9.32 cents for every $100 of Class III /IV (rental). Those rates will increase to 4.70 /9.40 ; 4.76 /9.52 and 4.80 /9.60 in years two, three and four.

Mon EMS, formed in a 2019 merger of EMS services provided by Mon Health and WVU Medicine, has been shielded to some degree from the financial crisis facing EMS services as the two hospital systems have subsidized the service, providing $4.6 million of a $12.3 million budget.

On multiple occasions, Weyen has explained EMS services across West Virginia are folding in the face of mounting readiness costs, the increasing number of calls handled and the restrictive guidelines that control EMS billing.

In Monongalia County, Star City VFD's dedicated ambulance service closed its doors earlier this year due to financial constraints.

The health systems have pledged to continue supporting the service, and the Monongalia County Commission has come on board with $1 million in the current fiscal year.

"We will begin to start slowly investing in our infrastructure and building the things we need around the county so that 10, 15, 20 years down the road, Mon County has a fantastic, safe, sustainable EMS system, " Weyen said.

"For the citizens to put their faith in the EMS professionals at Mon EMS to continue to build a world-class EMS system is really rewarding."

When the EMS levy takes effect on July 1, 2023, it will join excess levies supporting volunteer fire departments, public transit, parks and recreation, and public libraries on the county's books. Those levies were initially passed in 2016 and renewed by voters in 2020.

All vote totals are unofficial until certified through the canvassing process.

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(c)2022 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.)

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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