By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser City Council tabled the first reading of an ordinance implementing a police protection fee due to some corrections which they say need to be made in the draft document.
The ordinance was originally proposed to place a $2.25 per month fee on city residents’ water bills to help boost funding for law enforcement in the city.
Wednesday, however, council member Jennifer Junkins, who has been researching the issue, said the West Virginia Public Service Commission had stated that the fee has to be billed separately because the police department and the water department are two separate entities.
She suggested therefore to print a separate bill but place it in the envelope with the water bill so the city wouldn’t incur the cost of two different mailings.
The proposed ordinance Junkins had researched was actually originally proposed in 2007 but was never passed. In reading over the draft ordinance, however, she found some discrepancies in the dates on which the law would become effective if passed.
Mayor Damon Tillman therefore suggested tabling the first reading until the copy could be corrected.
In first proposing the fee during the council’s June 10 meeting, Junkins said it made sense for the city to charge a fee for the police department just as they have been doing for numerous years for the fire department.
"People pay a fire fee and the firefighters protect us. Well the police protect us too," she said.
Jenkins said at the time, 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."
The first reading of the ordinance will be on the agenda for the next council meeting, scheduled for July 8.