By Liz Beavers

Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - After tabling the proposal on June 24 for further consideration, the Keyser City Council generally agreed this month to "hold off" on the implementation of a police protection fee.

Council member Jennifer Junkins had originally brought up the idea during the June 10 council meeting, saying she had found a proposed ordinance from 2007 which was never passed. The ordinance would have implemented a monthly $2.25 fee for each water customer in the city, with the revenue to be earmarked for the police department.

The first reading of the ordinance was to have been held during the July 24 council meeting.

At that time, however, Junkins noted that the West Virginia Public Service Commission had informed her that the fee could not be placed on residents’ water bills, but had to be billed separately because the water department and police department are two separate entities.

Mayor Damon Tillman suggested tabling the first reading until the draft ordinance could be corrected to reflect that the police protection bill would not be placed on the water bill, but could be included in the same envelope.

On July 8, however, Junkins suggested holding off altogether on the proposed ordinance.

"It is so close to the election … by the time we have the first and second reading we may have a new council. We may wind up going a whole different direction."

The city election is July 28, and three seats on the council are up for grabs - those currently held by Billy Meek and Mike Ryan, and the open seat vacated by the resignation of Terry Liller.

Those running for the three seats are: Leigh "Wink" Dixon, Elwood Junkins, Curtis Perry, Mike Ryan, Jim Hannas, Billy Meek, Kelly Metcalf, Sean Liller and James Lough.