Latest News, Monongalia County

County VFDs, Morgantown finalizing excess fire levy renewal language

MORGANTOWN — Should voters renew the county’s fire protection excess levy in May, the Morgantown Fire Department will likely be among the agencies receiving support. 

Monongalia County Volunteer Fire Association President Mickey Rinehart said the Monongalia County Volunteer Fire Association and the city of Morgantown are working out the necessary details to add the city to the levy language this time around. 

Rinehart said the parties walked away from a Tuesday meeting with an “amicable agreement,” noting, “It looks like they will be on the levy.”   

The amount of money the firefighters are looking to generate through the levy renewal, and exactly how those dollars will be divided among departments, is still being finalized.  

As previously reported, the MCVFA and the county’s volunteer departments organized, presented and campaigned for both the original fire levy passed in 2016 and the initial renewal passed in 2020. The city was not involved in those efforts and the MFD was not a recipient of those funds.

During last week’s commission meeting, Rinehart expressed frustration that Morgantown was coming to the table late in the game, noting the two sides had yet to have any official discussions and levy language must be finalized and submitted to the state by the end of the month. 

City representatives said they made it known late last year that the city wanted the MFD to be included.

Morgantown City Manager Kim Haws said the request is ultimately aimed at improving fire services and ensuring taxpayers within the city are treated fairly. 

“We’re not focused simply on Morgantown, but we want to continue to support fire services inside and outside the [city],” Haws said. “We simply wanted to talk a little bit about the process and how it came about and what the city can do to help with that process, and also how the citizens of the municipality might gain some benefit from supporting the fire levy.”  

The current levy generates about $660,000 annually to be divided among the county’s 12 volunteer departments and its brush fire and hazardous materials teams. The volunteer fire association also receives a small portion of the proceeds. 

According to budget documents, the city anticipates collecting about $4.1 million in fire fees, which makes up a little more than half of the MFD’s $7.64 million budget for the current fiscal year. 

The current levy ends June 30, 2025. Any levies passed in the May 14 primary would take effect the following day.

TWEET @DominionPostWV