Wellsburg Council Increasing Service Fees

City Council will raise the city’s municipal service fee, establishing separate rates for residents and non-residents and including schools, churches and other institutions among those that will pay it.

A city ordinance calls for the fee to be used for street paving and maintenance, vehicles and equipment for the street department and capital improvements.

Council on Wednesday amended the ordinance, raising the annual fee from $6 to $9 later this year, $11 next year and $12 for the following year.

Businesses, schools, churches and other institutions will pay a monthly fee based on 1 cent for each square foot of their property unless that amount is less than $16, the minimum fee they may be assessed. That minimum will increase to $18 next year and $20 the following year.

The amended ordinance must undergo a second reading at council’s July 11 meeting.

The changes were recommended by the city’s finance committee, whose membership said the fee hasn’t been raised since 1977, while the cost for street paving and other expenses has risen.

Councilwoman Angel Adams, who chairs the committee, said further changes may be needed but they aren’t expected to affect the figures approved on Wednesday.

In addition to Adams, the changes were approved by Councilman Jack Kins, Councilman Tom R. Diserio and Councilwoman Della Serevicz. They were opposed by Councilman David Holden, Councilman Randy Fletcher and Councilman Charlie Harris.

Harris said the move would negatively impact the city’s many senior citizens.

Second Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard didn’t attend the meeting.

In other business this week, council agreed to provide an additional $8,000 for the fireworks display planned by the volunteer committee behind the city’s Independence Day celebration.

To be taken from the city’s coal severance fund, the amount is in addition to $2,700 previously approved for the fireworks.

Barb Yoder, the group’s treasurer, said it is at risk of losing $9,000 in state funding for fairs and festivals due to budget cuts. She said while several free concerts and other events have been sponsored by local businesses, the group faced dramatically cutting its fireworks display.