PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 12/12/17 11:00 P.M.
It's official. After months of back and forth, the Parkersburg City Council approves an ordinance that will increase the city's police and fire fees.
The ordinance on the increases passed by a vote of 6 to 3. Fire protection fees are set to increase by 95% and police protection fees by 100%.
Prior to the passage, members of the public voiced their concerns during the public forum.
"I think you all need to figure out your budget and then figure out how you're going to raise the money to meet your obligations. I don't think you should be raising money and fees ahead of knowing exactly what obligations you have to meet," said Kim van Rijn, a Parkersburg resident.
Jennifer Bryant, a Parkersburg resident, said," A huge percentage of our population would be very adversely affected by an increase in fees they've already been impacted the increase in taxes."
Jeff Fox, councilman for District 9, proposed an amendment to the ordinance that would serve as an alternative. But that was rejected by a vote of 6 to 3.
The money raised will go towards the pensions for the city's firefighters and police officers.
Council members say the city's first responders deserve to get the pensions they were promised.
The increases will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Council members also say the percentage by which the fees will increase could change in the coming months.
UPDATE: 12/11/2017 5:15 P.M.
Parkersburg City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday night at 7:30 at the city council chambers, with increases in the city's police and fire fees up for final passage.
Fire and police fees in Parkersburg are going up. The question is by how much.
Parkersburg City Council gave first reading Tuesday evening to increases both fire and police protection fees, after months of input and budgetary committee meetings.
Councilman John Reed says the problem of funding the pension for these emergency responders has been looming for years, and that now is the time to vote in increases in fees.
Council voted in an amendment to reduce the increase in fire fee from 115% to 95% to soften the blow to tax payers.
Second reading on the measures is expected at Council's December 12 meeting.
If final approval is given, the increases will go into effect July 1st, 2018, giving council and city planning officials more than six months to look for places to trim the budget and further reduce the fee increase.