Council Raises Ambulance Fees, OKs Annexation of Properties

Wheeling City Council voted to expand the city’s borders and charge more for ambulance service during their Tuesday meeting.

Council was unanimous in granting an annexation petition signed by owners of nine of the 16 properties from 126-141 Glen Hollin Drive asking to become part of the city. No one spoke during a public hearing on the matter prior to the vote.

The annexed territory includes 16 properties from 126-141 Glen Hollin Drive situated in Marshall County, with nine of the 16 property owners signing a petition requesting to become part of the city. Affected residents will see an increase in their property taxes – roughly $290 on a home with an assessed value of $90,000 – but now will receive police and fire protection, road maintenance and ambulance service from the city.

Following the vote, Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey, who represents the 6th Ward, welcomed his newest constituents to the city.

“I know that many of them have worked hard for a number of years to see that accomplished,” Fahey said of the annexation petition.

Meanwhile, the fee for ambulance service will now be $500 for basic life support, $650 for advanced life support and $10 per mile, up from the current $350, $450 and $7 per mile, respectively. Wheeling’s rates had been among the lowest in the area and needed to be increased to keep up with expenses, according to City Manager Robert Herron.

Council also conducted a public hearing on the city’s proposed plan for about $1.13 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding it expects to receive for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Herron listed the improvements he expects the city will be able to complete with the $546,000 of that total earmarked for public works projects, including paving the parking lot at the Miracle Field in Elm Grove, the entire length of South York Street, 14th Street between McColloch and Wood streets, Vine Street from 10th Street to the private drive, Eoff Street from 45th to 48th streets, Wetzel Street from 37th to 40th streets, Patterson Lane from Kruger Street to the creek, Fulton Street from Savon Rock to the alley after Merwin Street, Lind Street between Wood and Cherry streets and Virginia Street from Front to South York streets; sidewalk projects on 23rd and Virginia streets; and slip repair on Mount Wood Road.

Stephanie Hall, president of the Wheeling Island Community Association, said she is glad to see paving being done, but identified several other improvements she believes are needed on the island, including sidewalk repair on North York Street, paving on Indiana Street and upgrades to the marina.

She said the facility is heavily used, but lighting needs replaced and the parking lot hasn’t been paved since 1973.

“The parking lot is partially dirt now,” Hall said.

Center Wheeling resident Larry Spielvogel, who lives on Lane 20, asked council to do something about the sidewalk in front of his and his neighbors’ homes, which he said has deteriorated severely over the past several years.

“I’ve been threatened to be sued,” Spielvogel said. “All I own is my home. … I’m asking for help. I’m scared.”

In other business, council approved the following, all in unanimous votes:

– Keeping municipal property tax levy rates the same for the 2014-15 fiscal year;

– Updating Wheeling’s book of ordinances with legislation approved during the past year;

– Awarding contracts for painting and replacing hatches on the Mozart water tank;

– Purchasing about 120 new commercial water meters equipped with remote reading technology;

– Purchasing a new truck for the water department for $48,000 from Doan Ford of Belmont; and

– Handicapped parking spaces in front of 2383 Lumber Ave., 1334 Valley View Ave. and 10 Georgia St.