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Fire fees going up for Berkeley

June 28, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Fire fees for homeowners will go up between $5 and $7 a year under a series of increases approved by the Berkeley County Commission Thursday.

There are also a series of increases for businesses.

The fee increases will generate an additional $150,000 a year to help the county's five volunteer fire departments purchase needed equipment and make other improvements to their facilities, fire officials said.

For houses up to 2,500 square feet in size, the fire fee will increase from $20 to $25, and for houses bigger than 2,500 square feet, the fee will increase from $25 to $32.

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For businesses up to 2,500 square feet, the fee will increase from $50 to $64.

For businesses 2,501 square feet to 7,500 square feet, the fee will increase from $100 to $130, businesses 7,500 square feet to 20,000 square feet will have a fee increase from $250 to $320, and businesses 20,001 square feet and larger will see a fee increase from $500 to $650.

The hikes take effect Monday.

The commission made a number of clarifications Thursday, including the fact that agricultural buildings will not be assessed a fire fee.

Ed Calhoun, president of the Berkeley County Fire Board, the agency that collects the fire fee, has said the cost of firefighting equipment has increased significantly in the last six years.

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