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.