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Introduced Version House Bill 4057 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted
hb4057 intr
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.]



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 fees.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
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 purpose.
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 for 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 board.
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."
§7-17A-2. Definitions.
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 services agency.

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 have qualified.
(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 special meeting.
(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.
§7-17A-7. Budget.
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 duties generally.

(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 corporation;
(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 commission;
(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 Commission.

Any joint agency created pursuant to the provisions of this article is not subject to regulation by the Public Service Commission.
§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 corporate capacity.
§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 sealed bids.

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 joint agency.
§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 code.



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 be added.

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