CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston City Council is expected to entertain the idea of increasing the city’s fire fee to help balance next year’s budget. The fee hasn’t increased since 1988, despite a number of suggestions it be raised over the years by the fire department administration.

“The fire fee has been there since 1988 and it was there even before we merged with the ambulance service,” said Charleston Fire Chief Chuck Overstreet. “Supposedly they were supposed to keep up with it over the years. If they raised this incrementally over the years it wouldn’t even be an afterthought now.”

Increasing the fire service fee won’t hit every property owner the same. The fire service fee is based on the square footage of property. Overstreet said residential costs will be nominal when compared to business costs, which is why city leaders have been reluctant to increase the fee for 26 years.

“I live in the city and my fire fee is about three dollars. Even if they raise it 100 percent it’s only six dollars,” the chief said.  “I believe it’s well past time to raise it.”

City Council may entertain the idea of increasing the fee in the weeks ahead as they craft the budget for next fiscal year.


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  • Frank Helvey


  • EnoughAlready

    User fees, extra sales tax, B&O taxes, high rent, relentless parking attendants issuing tickets for a meter a few minutes expired and now they want to raise fire fees? Why would any business want to locate in Charleston when they can move outside the city limits or to South Charleston and save thousands? I support fire fees and our fire departments but it seems Charleston is going to the well too many times. How about reigning in some spending?

  • taylornicolecollins

    This is just another excuse for us taxpaying citizens so as stated below, a new truck can be purchased. Something else for the poor and middle class people have to worry about.

  • TB

    Back to the well again - the taxpayers. Try a novel approach to balancing the budget - living within your means. The Fire Chief believes "it's well past time to raise it." Just because it hasn't been raised in a long while? Great logic! He didn't even offer the old standard "we need a new fire truck."

  • Bu-Bye Danny Jones

    Danny, why don't you charge everyone that lives in West Virginia a Fire Protection user fee... You could use some lame excuse like Charleston Fire Dept. protects all our vital information at the State House....

  • ParryWV

    I betcha as soon as a way is found to let businesses off the hook and gouge the home owners that fee will go up in a second.

  • Independent View

    How about addressing the milions of dollars of unfunded liabilities in the firefighters retirement fund? And, instead of raising the fire fee to service this monstrous debt, firefighters should contribute more to the retirement system, but the firefighters and their union will have none of that.

    • P B and J