Pocahontas County Ambulance Authority to Begin Operation Next Week

During the August 1st Pocahontas County Commission meeting, Commissioner John Rebinski said that the new county operated ambulance service, known as the Pocahontas County Ambulance Authority, has obtained it’s DEA license. This will allow the use of controlled drugs which are used during emergency medical procedures to be stocked on the ambulance. He said he is now finalizing the paperwork to allow the ambulance crew to exchange drugs with PMH.

Rebinski said he anticipates that the initial county ambulance will begin operation in the Northern part of the county during the week of August 8th, although he is not yet sure of an exact schedule.

The commissioners decided that there is no need for them to approve Rebinski to be a volunteer with the new Ambulance Authority, because, as a commissioner he already is a county worker. The commissioners say they will possible consider approving other volunteers, especially for insurance reasons if they will be driving the county ambulance. Commission President Walt Helmick said he doesn’t want to start any precedence where volunteer fire departments would need commission acceptance of any of their volunteers. Rebinski added that although he is running the new service to get it started, he anticipates that the EMS Board will eventually run it.

Ken Gaitor of the Snowshoe Resort Community District (SRCD) presented a letter, signed by every member of the SRCD Board, to the commissioners in which they “express the strong opposition to the process by which the Pocahontas County Commissioners recently reallocated the Hotel/Motel Tax and the resultant funding reductions to various organizations in Pocahontas County.” He said that although the SRCD recognized the commission did this to support emergency services in the county, those organizations support tourism here -which is the stated purpose of that tax- and a lot of them, especially organizations like Parks and Recreation and the libraries, also encourage families to move here, and that supports the county budget. Gaitor said while the Snowshoe area produces the vast amount of the Hotel/Motel Tax, they don’t object to organizations in other parts of the county receiving those tax proceeds.

Gaitor particularly objected to the caps the commissioners placed on the amount of Hotel/Motel Tax money that some organizations can receive and that since this was implemented in mid-budget year, those had already committed to provide programs and employees that they might not now be able to afford.

Rebinski responded and said the purpose of the caps was to eliminate the out-of-control increases in the amount of Hotel/Motel Tax money the organizations were receiving since their shares of the tax were percentage based which means their tax revenues were increasing dramatically each year. He said that because of that, some organizations were receiving up to 50 or 80 percent increases from year to year. He said this was unfair since even county agencies don’t get those kinds of budget increases. Rebinski also said the caps are based on the average each organization has received over the past few years, so organizations’ tax receipts were not lowered much, and the money saved by these caps will help out medical services in the county.

Helmick agreed, saying that providing medical service to our aging population is the number one commission priority.

In other actions, the commissioners:

  • Approved 4 actions related to the PMH Roofing/HVAC project. That project is funded by a $1,576,764 Community Development Block Grant. They approved a release of grant funds to begin the bid process; approved the intent to bid; approved the release of $15,422.79 from the grant to move forward; and approved an extension of the grant.
  • Appointed:
    • Donald McNeel and Christine Rebinski to 3-year terms on the Pocahontas County EMS.
    • Charlie Sheets to a 3-year term on the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GBEDC.)
    • Linda Adams, Louise Burner, and Teresa Dunbrack to 3-year terms on the Dramas, Fairs and Festival Board
  • Approved the Emergency Management Service to accept a $6,000 Homeland Security Grant Program for Hazardous Material Commodity Flow Study; and also gave them permission to pursue a grant to replace their current communications trailer.
  • Approved a budget Revision and Resolution for the Coal Severance Fund -which now has $436,000 in it.
  • Approved an easement agreement for the East Fork Tannery Sewer Project
  • Approved contributions to two non-profits: $2,500 to the Tucker Community Foundation for their “Run for It” charity race, and $1,500 for Bryans Battery, to put on the Battle of Droop Mountain Civil War Reenactment on October 14 and 15, 2023.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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