WISE COUNTY EMERGENCY AGENCIES GO TO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING TO SAY THAT THEY ARE A NECESSITY, NOT A BURDEN
Wise County emergency agencies made their case that they are a necessity, not a burden to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night. Fire departments from Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Norton, Sandy Ridge, St. Paul, and Wise and the Big Stone Gap and Norton Rescue Squad were represented at the meeting to express concerns about a letter from County Administrator Mike Hatfield on July 13. Hatfield had issued conditions for departments in the Wise County Fire and Rescue Association to meet by August 10 before receiving county funds. The agencies were to provide fiscal account balances and income reports, lists of outstanding checks and bills, individuals' payrolls and hours worked, numbers of volunteers, and call information, including type, en route times, and incident totals. The letter was in reference to requests by the departments for the county to increase their annual funding per agency from $28,000 to $50,000 annually. Hatfield said in the letter that the units are important, but put a financial burden on the county. He and the chair of the board, J.H. Rivers, apologized to the departments at the meeting on Tuesday. Hatfield added that he and the board were seeking more accountability in a situation where county money was being spent. The departments added that they do not have the accounting or administrative resources to meet the letter's requirements.