CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Communities in the eastern part of Kanawha County will be getting two new ambulances.Kanawha County commissioners are expected to vote on $250,000 in funding for the two new vehicles at a regular meeting Tuesday.Mike Jarrett, spokesman for the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, said the ambulances will be paid for with coal severance tax revenue, and will be stationed in the eastern part of the county."We're not sure where yet exactly," Jarrett said, but added the ambulances will replace two older vehicles now in service.Although the ambulance authority operates as many as 37 ambulances, 14 are on station at all times, Jarrett said. Five of those are stationed in eastern Kanawha County, where they serve communities that include East Bank, Pratt and Cabin Creek.The eastern part of the county has traditionally produced large amounts of coal. A portion of taxes collected on coal production -- coal severance taxes -- are made available to counties, which are encouraged to spend the severance funds in communities where coal is mined.
Using coal severance money to pay for the ambulances frees up county officials from using money from the regular budget to pay for the vehicles.Jarrett said the ambulances will be marked with a special logo reminding citizens where the money for the ambulances originated. The logo features a coal miner superimposed on a map of the state of West Virginia with Kanawha County highlighted inside the map.Underneath the logo is the message, "Purchased with coal severance taxes."County Commission President Kent Carper said providing public safety is one of the primary jobs of county government."This type of investment is important to the community," he said.Reach Rusty Marks at email@example.com or 304-348-1215.