MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After an hour of public comments, mostly opposed to a proposed user fee, the Morgantown city council approved a $3 weekly charge on employees who work inside the city limits.

The final vote Tuesday was split 4-3. Council members Nancy Ganz, Jenny Selin, Marti Shamberger and Bill Kawecki voted to approve on the measure.

Council members Ron Bane, Wes Nugent and Jay Redmond wanted to table a vote in order to explain the proposal to employers and employees.

Redmond’s motion for delaying the final vote was dismissed with a 4-3 vote.

Morgantown’s user fee—similar to those that have been in place in Huntington, Charleston, Fairmont, Weirton and Parkersburg—is predicted to raise $4.6 million annually. That number is based on annual $156 collections from the 30,000 people recent census statistics revealed work in Morgantown.

The fee, formally named the Safe Streets and Safe Community Service Fee, will be distributed to pay for street resurfacing and improvement, public works personnel, street maintenance equipment, police protection personnel and retention and police equipment.

City administrators indicated they hope to hire five public works employees and up to 12 more police officers.

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