Proposed fire fee discussed in Philippi

PHILIPPI — Philippi City Council discussed the possible creation of a new fire fee ordinance Tuesday.

The topic was brought to Council’s attention by the Philippi Volunteer Fire Department last week.

The proposal is for City Council to impose a fire fee on the residents inside Philippi city limits. The proposed cost is $5 per lot, per month, which is subject to change. This fee would be added to residents’ utility bills.

Officials hope a fire fee will offset the costs the state is imposing on all the fire departments in the state.

Philippi fire chief David Utt explained the reasoning behind the proposal.

“Unfortunately, the fire fees are essential for fire departments to survive, and to be able to hold and keep the equipment that they have. This is to provide their services that they are able to provide,” Utt said. “If we didn’t put the fire fee in place, the Council, they understand that the Philippi Volunteer Fire Department would not be able to continue the way that it is going.”

Property owners who rent their homes and apartments out are concerned the fee would negatively affect them.

Council members addressed the public Tuesday, saying the cost would be on the renter and not the home owner.

The draft for the fire fee ordinance has been passed on to the city attorney. Later in the process, a legal ad will be drafter and published in a local newspaper.

Bridgeport, Parsons, Elkins and Shinnston have all either proposed or have a fire fee in place, Utt

explained.

Philippi City Council will next meet Jan. 24 at the Philippi City Building

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