Moundsville Mulls Charging Fire Response Fee

MOUNDSVILLE — City leaders are considering charging a fee whenever the city’s fire department responds to an emergency call.

Moundsville City Council will have the first reading of an ordinance during its council meeting tonight that would add the charge whenever such a call occurs within the city limits. Interim City Manager Sondra Hewitt said the Moundsville Fire Department asked for the ordinance to offset the cost of responses.

The dollar amounts associated with the ordinance and the specific details of collection were not drafted as part of the ordinance, according to city attorney Tom White.

“It’s going to be kind of general, and grants them the authority to charge for this,” White said Monday. “The schedule of fees is to be figured out later, and … who they hire to do collections will be figured out later. It’s going to be very undetailed, what we’re doing (tonight).”

Hewitt said charges would be passed along to insurance companies responsible for damage in the case of vehicle crashes. The fees would be used to recover the cost of the department to respond, do hazmat cleanup or other associated tasks.

It was unclear how the fee might be assessed in other types of responses, or what would happen if the responsible party does not have insurance.

“The fire department presented it to council, and I believe they’re in favor of it, as long as … the citizens were not going to be charged, it’s the insurance companies,” Hewitt said. “Individuals will not get billed.”

Calls to fire Chief Gary Brandon seeking comment were not returned Monday.

Council meets at 7 p.m. tonight at the city building on Sixth Street.

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