WILLIAMSON – Williamson Fire Chief, Joey Carey approached the Mingo County Commission at Wednesday’s meeting to discuss the possibility of leasing the county ambulance for use within the city of Williamson.
At the meeting, Carey presented the commission with a copy of the proposed lease agreement prepared by Williamson City Attorney, Joshua Ferrell.
Carey approached the commission stating, “I was here about five months ago to discuss possibly leasing the old county ambulance from the commission. We want to add to the emergency services in the city. It has taken us some time to secure enough money to get started. We do have the money now. I had our city attorney draw up the lease that you all requested. I would like to present that to you for your review.”
Commissioner John Mark Hubbard responded, asking if the commission had previously discussed the monthly amount to lease the ambulance with Carey at the previous meeting.
Carey responded stating, “We expressed interest… The money were are able to provide is in the lease. I also ask that our city attorney put the lease on an annual basis. That way if it doesn’t work, we can get out of the lease.”
Commissioner Diann Hannah asked, “You are just going to do like the rescue squad used to; the Williamson area only?”
Hannah continued, expressing concern over opening the service to the county. “We have an agreement with these ambulance services…If you want to cover the fire rescue like they used to in Williamson, I think that is a great idea.”
Carey responded, “That is what we are asking. What we are asking for is to be able to provide transportation service in addition to what we do now in the city of Williamson.”
The discussion between Carey and the commission continued.
“I don’t want to be involved in an ambulance war,” Carey explained. “All I want to do is be there if we are needed.”
Hannah agreed stating, “We need to get a clear understanding with the other ambulance services in the county that you would not be taking their coverage area. That this is for the city.”
Commissioner John Mark Hubbard clarified stating, “If STAT ambulance service could not respond, then 911 would have the option to call you as a secondary responder.”
Carey agreed stating, “That is all I am asking. That service is not there and I see it every day that people are suffering because of it. If we are able to do this on a city level and take the burden off the counties’ hands. That is all I am trying to do”
Following the discussion, Commissioner Hubbard requested that the commission be given time to review the lease before making a decision. The item will be added to the agenda for the next meeting which will be held on August 16.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)