Highland Board of Supervisors Approves Amended EMS Fee
At it’s budget work session on April 12, the Highland County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the amended Emergency Medical Services Fee ordinance. The fee is now $180 a year and will be assessed as one landowner, one fee and it will also be assessed on businesses, if they are not already paying as a landowner. There was one more revision made to the ordinance at the meeting. County Attorney Melissa Dowd explained that language in the ordinance stated that the fee will be “assessed annually on all real property in the county”. She said there are a few businesses that rent the land where they are located, and since they don’t own it, they would not be assessed the fee. She asked if the Board wanted to use that language “all real property in the county” because with that, a small number of businesses, maybe four or five, that don’t own land would be exempt. Dowd suggested it may be simpler to just say “assessed annually” and then those businesses would be assessed the fee. Dowd said the language can be revisited at some point in the future if renters are assessed in the ordinance. The Board agreed to change the language to “assessed annually”.
Revenues from the EMS fee are expected to be $358,875.
Board Chair Harry Sponaugle said he had received comments that this revision of the ordinance was more much fair.
County Attorney Melissa Dowd also said there had been some requests to exempt rescue squad members from paying the EMS fee. She explained that rescue squad members can’t be exempt because that is not legally authorized by Virginia law. Dowd said the Board of Supervisors could look at an exemption in the future and it would need to be approved by the state legislature.