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Community members and leaders discuss need for Fire and Ambulance Levy

Co-owner of Bray & Oakley Insurance Michael Winters explains the importance of having a fire and ambulance levy. Logan County Commission President Diana Barnette urges voters to not overlook the levy on their May primary ballots.

Robert Fields | WVOW News

LOGAN The Fire and Ambulance Levy is an excess levy, which is a tax imposed on top of regular property taxes and are voted on by the public. As primary elections draw closer, an increasing number of Logan County officials are addressing the public in support of the levy which will appear at the bottom of every voter’s ballot.

During Monday’s meeting of the Logan County Commission, Michael Winter, co-owner of Bray & Oakley Insurance, spoke on the importance of having the levy. According to Winter, fire departments in particular have to keep up with a rating system. Insurance companies use this fire score to determine how well a fire department can protect communities and homes.

“It’s called ISO (Insurance Services Office) and there’s a scale from 1 to 10 for each fire department, and this has a big impact on our insurance premiums or businesses or homes and also how quickly somebody can get care when they’re involved in an accident.”

The levy also ensures that there is funding in place for fire departments and ambulance services to update and maintain equipment and provide necessary training to staff, according to Winter.

Commission President Diana Barnette urged voters to pay attention to their ballots this May. In order for an excess levy to pass in the polls, it requires voter approval by a super majority.

“It has to pass by sixty percent. Not sixty percent of the people who voted for the levy or against the levy, sixty percent of people that are voting. So, it’s going to be at the end of the ballot and everybody’s going to just pick who they want and move on. That’s basically a ‘no’ vote. So everybody needs to remember to go all the way down to the end of the ballot and vote ‘yes’ for the levy.”

Executive Director of the Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority (L.E.A.S.A) Roger Bryant called into WVOW’s “What’s Your Opinion” on Wednesday. According to Bryant, not only does the levy give L.E.A.S.A. the ability to pursue further funding, but it’s also crucial for the county’s coal industry and the economy as a whole.

“It’s a win-win for everybody. Not only does it help keep your home owner’s policy down, but mining companies have to have emergency ambulance service in order to get a permit to mine. And that $1.5 million that we get from the levy allows the ambulance authority to go after another $6 million that wouldn’t come in the county and that money’s spent everywhere: grocery stores, car lots and all that kind of stuff. But, it’s one of the few taxes that’s actually an investment, and you get a return on your money.”

The Logan County Fire and Ambulance Levy comes up on the ballot for the primary election, which is scheduled for May Fourteenth.



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