By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - At a time when many protesters in the news are shouting for major cities to "defund the police," the Keyser City Council is scheduled to talk about beefing up their police budget with the implementation of a police protection fee.
According to council member Jennifer Junkins, who brought the issue up during the June 10 meeting after researching the minutes of past council meetings, the idea was proposed in 2007.
"But from what I could find, it was never brought back up again," she said.
The proposal at that time was $2.25 a month which would be added to city residents’ water bills.
"People pay a fire fee and the firefighters protect us. Well the police protect us too," she said.
According to Jenkins, if the city doesn’t look at ways to increase the law enforcement budget, "we may have to look at cutting services at some point in time."
"I think it’s a great idea," mayor Damon Tillman said, calling for the issue to be placed on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting for further discussion and the first reading of the proposal.
"It’s worth talking about," council member William Zacot agreed.
The council meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. Wednesday, and the officials are also scheduled to talk about a date for the Limestone Dam auction, an ordinance for 911 street addressing, NexGen broadband, employee pay scales and adjustments, and late fees/shut offs for water customers, among other issues.
The meeting is open to the public.