H. B. 4057
(By Mr. Speaker, (Mr. Thompson) and Delegate Armstead)
[By Request of the Executive]
[Introduced January 16, 2008; referred to the
Committee on Political Subdivisions then Finance.]
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
A BILL to amend and reenact §7-15-4 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a
new article, designated §7-17A-1, §7-17A-2, §7-17A-3,
§7-17A-4, 7-17A-5, §7-17A-6, §7-17A-7, §7-17A-8, §7-17A-9,
§7-17A-10, §7-17A-11, §7-17A-12, §7-17A-13, §7-17A-14 and
§7-17A-15, all relating to the creation of joint emergency
service agencies; exempting such agencies from regulation by
the Public Service Commission; exempting such agencies from
taxation; and providing for the imposition and collection of
That §7-15-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated §7-17A-1, §7-17A-2, §7-17A-3,
§7-17A-4, §7-17A-5, §7-17A-6, §7-17A-7, §7-17A-8, §7-17A-9, §7-17A-10, §7-17A-11, §7-17A-12, §7-17A-13, §7-17A-14 and
§7-17A-15, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 15. EMERGENCY AMBULANCE SERVICE ACT OF 1975.
§7-15-4. Duty of county commissions to provide emergency ambulance
service; emergency ambulance service authorities
authorized; authorities to be public corporations.
Except as hereinafter provided and in addition to all other
duties imposed upon it by law, the county commission shall cause
emergency ambulance service to be made available to all the
residents of the county where such service is not otherwise
available: Provided, however,
That the duty imposed upon county
commissions by this article shall not be construed in such manner
as to impose a duty to cause such emergency ambulance service to be
provided unless the commission shall make an affirmative
determination that there are funds available therefor by the
inclusion of a projected expenditure for such purpose in the
current levy estimate, and in the event that such county commission
shall make such determination the commission shall not be under a
duty to cause such service to be provided beyond a level
commensurate with the amount of funds actually available for such
The county commission may provide the service directly through
its agents, servants and employees; or through private enterprise;
or by its designees; or by contracting with individuals, groups, associations, corporations or otherwise; or it may cause such
services to be provided by an emergency ambulance service
authority, as provided
in this article, or by a joint emergency
services agency in accordance with the provisions of article
seventeen-a of this chapter; and any municipality or county, or
both, or any two or more municipalities within any county or
contiguous counties, or any two or more contiguous counties, or any
combination thereof, may create an authority. Such authority shall
be created upon the adoption, by the governing body of each
participating government, acting individually, of an appropriate
ordinance or order. Each authority shall constitute a public
corporation, and as such, shall have perpetual existence. The
authority shall be known by such name as may be established by the
ARTICLE 17A. JOINT EMERGENCY SERVICES ACT OF 2008.
§7-17A-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Joint
Emergency Services Act of 2008."
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise
requires, the following words and phrases have the meanings
ascribed to them in this section:
(a) The term "agency," "joint agency," or "joint emergency
services agency" means a unit created by a county commission under section three of this article to provide county residents with
emergency response services.
(b) The term "emergency response services" includes, without
limitation, emergency ambulance services pursuant to article
four-c, chapter sixteen of this code, fire prevention and fire
protection services pursuant to section three-d, article one of
this chapter or any other emergency prevention, detection or
mitigation program that counties are permitted to operate or
required to provide under the provisions of this code. The term
does not include law enforcement or military services.
(c) The term "joint emergency services board" or "board" means
the managing body of a joint emergency services agency formed under
section four of this article.
§7-17A-3. Local government authority to establish joint emergency
In lieu of creating both an emergency ambulance service
authority pursuant to article fifteen of this chapter and a
separate county fire association or county fire board pursuant to
article seventeen of this chapter, the county commission of any
county may by lawfully enacted ordinance create a combined joint
emergency services agency. The joint agency shall possess all of
the rights and responsibilities conferred upon emergency ambulance
service authorities, county fire associations, and county fire
boards that are not otherwise inconsistent with this article. The joint agency may also provide any emergency response service the
county is permitted or otherwise required to provide to its
citizens under the provisions of this code.
§7-17A-4. Management of joint agency vested in board;
eligibility, appointment, number and term of
members; vote of members; vacancies.
(a) The management and control of the joint agency shall be
vested in a board of no less than seven nor more than fifteen
individuals who shall be appointed for terms of three years each by
the county commission.
(b) The initial appointment to the county joint emergency
services board shall begin on the first day of July, two thousand
eight. One county commissioner, chosen by the county commission,
shall serve on the board. The county commission shall make the
initial appointments to the joint emergency services board so that
approximately one third of the total number of the board members to
be so appointed shall be appointed for a term of one year,
approximately one third of the total number of board members to be
so appointed shall be appointed for a term of two years and
approximately one third of such total number of board members to be
so appointed shall be appointed for a term of three years. As the
term of each such initial appointee expires, the successor to fill
the vacancy created by such expired term shall be appointed by the
county commission for a term of three years.
(c) Only residents of the county in which the board is formed
are eligible to serve on the joint emergency services board. At
all times, the board shall consist of at least two representatives
from the emergency medical services community, at least two
representatives from the fire protection services community, and at
least two citizen representatives from the county at-large. The
citizen members may not be employed with the emergency medical
services community, fire protection services community or the
county commission and not more than one citizen member may be
appointed from the same magisterial district in the county.
(d) Board members are limited to two consecutive terms. In
the event of a vacancy, a successor shall be appointed from the
same representative area to fill out the unexpired term. Members
in office at the expiration of their respective terms shall
continue to serve until their successors have been appointed and
(e) A majority of the members of the board constitutes a
quorum and the affirmative vote of a majority of all members
present necessary for any action taken by vote of the board. No
vacancy in the membership of the board impairs the rights of a
quorum by such vote to exercise all the rights and perform all
duties of the board.
§7-17A-5. Compensation of board members; expenses.
No member of the board may receive any compensation in connection with his services as a member. Each member, however, is
entitled to reimbursement by the board for any necessary expenses
actually incurred in connection with the performance of his or her
duties: Provided, That not more than one percent of the annual
appropriations to the board may be used for administrative expenses
by the board.
§7-17A-6. Meetings of the joint agency; officers; official bonds.
(a) At its first meeting to be held no later than sixty days
from the creation of the joint agency as provided in this article,
the board shall elect from among its membership a president to act
during the next ensuing fiscal year, or until his successor is
elected and qualified. At that time, the board shall also elect a
vice president, a secretary and a treasurer and such other officers
as may be required.
(b) The treasurer, and such other officers as the board shall
direct, shall furnish a bond for the use and benefit of the agency
in such penal sum as may be fixed by the board and conditioned upon
the faithful discharge by such treasurer and such other officers so
directed by the board of the duties of their respective offices,
and upon accounting for and paying over all moneys which may come
into their possession by virtue of such office.
(c) At its first meeting the board shall also fix the time and
place for holding regular meetings, but it shall meet at least
quarterly. Special meetings of the board may be called by the president or by two members upon written request to the secretary.
The secretary shall send to all members, at least two days in
advance of a special meeting, a written notice setting forth the
time and place of the special meeting and the matters to be
considered at such special meeting. Written notice of a special
meeting is not required if the time of the special meeting has been
fixed in a regular meeting or if all the members are present at the
(d) All regular meetings shall be general meetings for the
consideration of any and all matters which may properly come before
the board. All proceedings of the board shall be entered in a
permanently bound record book, properly indexed, and shall be
carefully preserved by the secretary of the board.
The joint emergency services board shall establish the
beginning and ending of a fiscal year, which period shall
constitute the joint agency's budget year. At least thirty days
prior to the beginning of the first full fiscal year after the
creation of the joint agency and annually thereafter, the treasurer
shall prepare and submit to the board a tentative budget. The
tentative budget shall be considered by the board, and, subject to
any revisions or amendments that may be determined by the board,
shall be adopted as the budget for the ensuing fiscal year. No
expenditures in excess of the budget may be made during such fiscal year unless expressly authorized and directed by the board.
§7-17A-8. Joint agency to be a public corporation; powers and
(a) The joint agency shall constitute and be created as a
public corporation under the name provided for in its articles of
incorporation and, as such, shall have perpetual succession, may
contract with and be contracted with, sue and be sued, implead and
be impleaded, and have and use a corporate seal.
(b) Each joint agency created pursuant to this article may:
(1) Make and adopt all necessary bylaws, rules and regulations
for its organization and operations not inconsistent with law;
(2) Elect its own officers, appoint committees and employ and
fix compensation for personnel necessary for its operation;
(3) Enter into contracts with any person, agency, governmental
department, firm or corporation, including both public and private
corporations, and renew, amend or supplement such contracts;
(4) Generally do any and all things necessary or convenient to
provide emergency response services within the county;
(5) Borrow money, apply for, receive and use grants, donations
and contributions from any source or sources and accept and use
bequests, devises, gifts and donations from any person, firm or
(6) Raise funds by the issuance and sale of revenue bonds in
the manner provided by law;
(7) Formulate and present a petition for funds to the county
(8) Purchase or otherwise acquire, own, hold, sell and dispose
of real and personal property; and
(9) Expend its funds in the execution of the powers and
authority herein given.
§7-17A-9. Contributions to joint agencies; funds and accounts of
joint agencies; audit by state tax department.
(a) Contributions may be made to the joint agency from time to
time by the county commission of the county or any municipal
corporation therein, and by any persons, firms or corporations
which desire to do so.
(b) All such funds and all other funds received by the joint
emergency services agency shall be deposited in such bank or banks
as the joint emergency services board may direct and may be
withdrawn therefrom in such manner as the board may direct.
(c) The joint agency shall keep strict account of all its
receipts and expenditures and shall submit a quarterly report to
the county commission containing an itemized statement of its
receipts and disbursements during the preceding quarter.
(d) Within sixty days after the end of each fiscal year, the
joint agency shall make an annual report containing an itemized
statement of its receipts and disbursements for the preceding
fiscal year, and any and all other information which the board may consider pertinent, to the county commission. The annual report
shall be published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance
with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this
code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the
county in which the joint agency is formed.
(e) The books, records and accounts of the board are subject
to audit and examination by the office of the state Tax
Commissioner of West Virginia and by any other proper public
official or body in the manner provided by law.
§7-17A-10. Joint agency not regulated by Public Service
Any joint agency created pursuant to the provisions of this
article is not subject to regulation by the Public Service
§7-17A-11. Joint agency exempt from taxation.
Any joint emergency services agency created pursuant to the
provisions of this article and, without limitation, its revenues,
properties, operations and activities is exempt from the payment of
any taxes or fees to the state or any subdivision thereof or to any
officer or employee of the state or other subdivision thereof:
Provided, That this exemption does not apply to the tax imposed by
section seven, article twenty-seven, chapter eleven of this code on
gross receipts derived from transporting patients by ambulance.
Bonds, notes, debentures and other evidence of indebtedness of the joint agency are declared to be issued for a public purpose and to
be public instrumentalities and are exempt from taxes.
§7-17A-12. Indebtedness of joint agencies.
Any obligation or indebtedness of any nature of any joint
agency does not constitute an obligation or indebtedness of the
county or county commission within the meaning of any
Constitutional provision or statutory limitation and does not
constitute or give rise to a pecuniary liability of any county or
county commission or be a charge against the general credit or
taxing power of any county or county commission. The rights of
creditors of any joint agency shall be solely against the joint
agency as a corporate body and may be satisfied only out of
revenues, monies or property received or held by it in its
§7-17A-13. Conflict of interest prohibited.
No member of any joint agency, nor any of its officers,
employees, agents or consultants, may have any interest in any
firm, partnership, corporation, company, association or joint-stock
association engaged in the business of providing emergency response
services or in the manufacture, sale or lease of emergency response
equipment or facilities. No member of any joint agency, nor any of
its officers, employees, agents or consultants, may contract with
the authority or be interested in, either directly or indirectly,
any contract with the joint agency or in the sale of property, either real or personal, to such joint agency.
§7-17A-14. Competitive bids; publication of solicitation for
A purchase of or contract for all supplies, equipment and
materials and a contract for the construction of facilities by any
joint agency, when the expenditure required exceeds the sum of ten
thousand dollars, shall be based on competitive sealed bids. Bids
shall be obtained by public notice published as a Class II legal
advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three,
chapter fifty-nine of this code and the publication area for
publication is the service area of the joint agency. The second
publication shall be made at least fourteen days before the final
date for submitting bids. In addition to publication, the notice
may also be published by any other advertising medium the joint
agency may consider advisable and the joint agency may also solicit
sealed bids by sending requests by mail to prospective suppliers
and by posting notice on a bulletin board in the office of the
§7-17A-15. Imposition and collection of fees.
(a) A county commission may, by ordinance, impose upon and
collect from the users of emergency response services within the
county reasonable rates, fees, and charges to be collected in the
manner specified in the ordinance: Provided, That such fees shall
be imposed and collected in lieu of, and not in addition to, a special emergency ambulance service fee pursuant to section
seventeen, article fifteen of this chapter or a county fire service
fee pursuant to section twelve, article seventeen of this chapter.
The proceeds from the imposition and collection of any monies under
this section shall be deposited into a special fund and used only
to pay for reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred in
the establishment, maintenance and operation of a joint emergency
services agency pursuant to this article: Provided, That a joint
emergency services agency receiving funds from monies collected
pursuant to this section is not be precluded from making
nonemergency ambulance transports.
(b) This section does not prohibit the collection of
reimbursement fees for personnel and equipment used in performing
emergency response services that are otherwise permitted by this
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize county
commissions to create a joint emergency service agency in lieu of
an emergency ambulance service authority, county fire association
or county fire board.
Strike throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would