Elkins Council to vote on fire fees

ELKINS – Elkins City Council will consider the third and final reading today of an ordinance that will expand fire fees to nearly 3,000 residences in the Elkins Fire Department’s first due response area.

The ordinance would not only extend the fire fee, but also change the way it is charged. Currently, the fee is assessed on the basis of square footage of structures; if the ordinance passes, a new flat rate will be instituted.

The ordinance would charge a flat fire fee rate of $100 per year for all single family homes and all other structures consisting of two or fewer living units. Any commercial or industrial structures or rental structures with three or more units will pay five cents per square foot.

According to a fire fee computation provided by the city, the new ordinance will bring in a total annual revenue of $885,113 if passed. Of that revenue, $479,031 will come from within city limits, while the remaining $406,082 will come from structures within the first due response area, but outside the corporate limits.

According to the computation, there are 2,537 residences inside the city that will pay the $100 flat fee, and there will be a total of 4,506,623 square feet of structures charged the five cents per square foot. Outside the city there are 2,767 residences that will pay the flat fee and 2,587,630 square feet of structures that will be charged the five cents per square foot. The square footage information is based on figures obtained from the Randolph County Assessor’s office, city officials said.

The fire department’s first due response area includes all of city limits and an area that extends around the city. A map provided in the city’s informational packet highlights the area, that includes Glenmore, Bowden, Highland Park, Crystal Springs and other areas.

The ordinance states the fees can only be raised or lowered if everyone in the fire department’s first due response area is included, whether they are inside the city limits or not.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. today in council chambers at Elkins City Hall. If passed the ordinance will go into effect on July 1, 2015.