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Martinsburg City Council approves garbage, fire fee increases

May 10, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - City residents will see an increase in their garbage and fire fees after July 1 after the Martinsburg City Council unanimously approved the hikes at Thursday's City Council meeting.

The fire fee increases will generate about $60,000 in additional revenue, while the garbage fee increases will generate an additional $72,500.

Finance Director Mark Spickler said the reason for raising the fees is to help offset a projected $125,000 deficit in the city's annual budget, which is based on the minimum operating costs of city departments.

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Another reason for the increase in garbage fees is because the sanitation department currently does not bring in enough revenue to support its operating costs, Spickler said.

The change will increase residential rates by $12 per year, making the annual bill $172. The garbage dumping rates for one pickup per week will go from $420 to $525 a year.

The garbage fees were last raised in 1999.

The increase in residential fire fee rates is $5, making the total yearly bill $60.

Commercial rates were made to be more equitable, so larger buildings will pay a significant amount more, Spickler said.

The change will charge .055 cents per square foot. The recommended minimum commercial fire fee rate is $60, with caps placed on maximum rates only until the fiscal year 2005.

The current commercial fire fee rates are in a tier system based on building square footage.

Spickler said that system is not fair because a building at 10,000 square foot is charged $464.50 per year, while a building at 10,001 square foot is in another tier and is charged $809.37 per year.

The fire fee has not been raised since 1989.

If the garbage and fire fees are paid in full 20 days after billing, there is an 18 percent discount on the bill.

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