KEYSER - A motion to allow the Mineral County Ambulance Authority and the CPR Training Certification Program to continue to utilize space at the 911 Center without a rent payment was approved at the Tuesday morning meeting of the Mineral County Commission.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - A motion to allow the Mineral County Ambulance Authority and the CPR Training Certification Program to continue to utilize space at the 911 Center without a rent payment was approved at the Tuesday morning meeting of the Mineral County Commission.
Commission president Richard Lechliter said that his motion would “replace the previous motion” dealing with the same subject, when at a previous county government meeting, and upon the urging of Luke McKenzie, OEM director, a motion was passed to allow the total of a monthly $400 rental fee to be charged to the two agencies.
Gary Sergeant, who heads up the CPR Program, told the commissioners that the program started years ago in the courthouse, later moving to the 911 Center, where Barb Sutton served as the secretary to this group and in the same capacity for the ambulance authority.
He said that when Sutton retired, information was given to him that the new secretary couldn’t take care of the records, and an office-type room was found for the CPR program and the ambulance authority.
Sergeant said CPR training is a “public service,” and people from county schools, hospitals, fire companies, and other groups attend the classes.
He said that the program keeps their head above water, and, “Now we are to pay rent” for a space that is like a storage room.
Steve Rexrode, president of the ambulance authority, addressed the commissioners, saying, “You three offered us a room at the 911 Center for our use, with no rent, and a mailing address for our bills.”
He added that the money that the ambulance authority receives is “not our money,” but is “taxpayers’ money.”
Rexrode talked about the issue of supposedly using the copy machine too much, and he added that he makes 15 copies of a financial statement to distribute to the members of the ambulance authority that meets every other month.
He did say that he would address the number of copies made, because often the financial statements are left on the table of the different meeting places of the ambulance authority.
McKenzie went over many monthly utility bills that showed a sizable amount of money, while Rexrode said that the ambulance authority pays a phone bill for the 911 Center once every quarter.
Sergeant said that the phone service and other utilities “would still be there at the 911 Center even if we weren’t there.”
He said that he would purchase an inexpensive copier and buy packs of paper for use of the two agencies in question.
Rexrode said that a person told him, “There is a hole,” pertaining to debt at the 911 Center, and “I am not paying the debt.”
Marques Rice was in attendance and he said that he understood that a CPR training room would always be provided, as he said the latest training class involved 50 people from Petersburg.
“Now is the room a training room or not?” Rice asked, giving data that 41 percent of those taken to the hospital with a heart attack survive if they had CPR performed on them.
Sergeant said the cost per CPR card per student is $15, while elsewhere the cost could be $60, and, “If the rent for the training space is raised, there will be a raise in the card.”
Wanting to conclude the matter, he said the CPR training would be given to the 911 personnel free of charge.
Agreeing with this, commissioner Jerry Whisner said if the recertification for the personnel would happen, there would be no rent charged for the two groups, with, “A reevaluation to take place on the matter in a year.”
Rexrode said that the motion would be acceptable, because, “If we had to pay rent, we would be moved out in an hour.”