KEYSER, W.Va. — The Keyser council approved an ordinance that increases the fire protection fee during a recent council meeting. Councilman Herman Judy opposed the increase.
The new monthly fee for residences will be $2.40. During the meeting last week, resident Karol Ashenfelter spoke out against the increase, noting that residents couldn’t afford the increase, according to Mayor Randy Amtower.
Owners of commercial businesses, instead of tenants, will pay the fire fee under the ordinance.
“The tenants will see a decrease in their water bill and it will fall on the owner,” Amtower has said.
Business owners Dee Nester and Jim Smith, both of whom have rental properties, voiced concerns during the meeting about being responsible for the fire fee and said they would prefer that the tenants be responsible for the fee, according to Amtower.
Commercial buildings will no longer have flat fees, but will be charged based upon square footage.
Commercial structures with up to 2,499 square feet will cost $6.50; 2,500 to 9,999 square feet will cost $7.75; 10,000 to 29,999 square feet will cost $19; 30,000 to 49,999 square feet will cost $29; and 50,000 or greater square feet will cost $35.
Any building that has a state-certified sprinkler system will receive a 25 percent discount.
Prior to the ordinance, residential fire fees were $1.70 per month on the water bill and commercial fire fees were $4.22. The fire fees didn’t produce enough revenue for the fire department; $59,000 in revenue was generated and there were $79,000 in expenditures.
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at firstname.lastname@example.org.