KEYSER - The Keyser City Council will be talking about a possible fire fee increase as they meet for a budget work session on Wednesday.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser City Council will be talking about a possible fire fee increase as they meet for a budget work session on Wednesday.
The proposal to increase the city’s residential fire fee came during the Jan. 23 council meeting when the officials discussed a request by the Keyser Volunteer Fire The proposal was for a used 1998 pumper truck to replace teh current fire engine owned by the city.
According to the proposal, the original cost of the truck was set at $89,000, but it was lowered to $82,000. If the city would have approved the purchase that night, however, the price would have been reduced to $80,000.
According to KVFD member Scott Matthews, “The city currently holds title to one fire engine and the ladder truck.“
The ladder truck, which had a lighting issue, was recently fitted with new lights along the length of the ladder after being approved by the previous city administration. Matthews said the city has two payments left on that truck and it will be paid off.
Should the city decide to purchase the pumper truck, it would replace the 35-year-old fire engine.
Matthews said the pumper has only 52,000 miles on it, and would provide additional seating for firefighters.
City administrator Buck Eagle said  that night he had spoken with a local bank representative who suggested financing the purchase with a seven-year loan, with payments at $1,100 a month.
Mayor Damon Tillman said, however, he felt the council needed more time to discuss the proposal and the source of funding.
Finance commissioner Mike Ryan noted that the fire fund “is currently in the hole $17,000.“
It was at that time that someone in the audience asked if the city would consider “raising your fire fee a dollar.“
Keyser residents currently pay a $2.40 fire fee on their water bill. Businesses located in the city pay a fire fee based on their size, and they just received a raise approximately three years ago.
“That’s something we really need to look into,” Tillman said, adding that he felt residents would “be glad they paid that dollar” if their house ever caught on fire.
The council took no action on the pumper, but plan to take a look at increasing the fire fee during Wednesday’s work session, which begins at 6 p.m.