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Weirton residents deserve clarity

When Weirton Council convenes its regular meeting next week, members will be presented with the second reading of an ordinance to increase part of the city’s municipal police and fire service fee.

Currently, the fee assesses $50 per household per year to provide funding to support the operations of the Weirton Police Department and Weirton Fire Department. Businesses also are required to pay this fee, but that assessment is based on the square footage of their property.

Council, when voting 4-2 on the first reading of the increase last month, explained the proposal, noting how much of an increase residents would pay if passed, along with the effective dates of each increase.

Under the proposal, the residential fee would increase to $65 per year beginning July 1 and go up to $75 per year on July 1, 2021.

They noted this would be only for the residential fee, that businesses would not be affected.

What they didn’t explain, however, and what people should know before the ordinance is approved, is what plans are for the revenue increase if it goes into effect.

Such a substantial increase ­– and going up $25 a year is substantial, even when done in two phases — can still hit residents hard. Surely there is a specific project in mind.

A few residents spoke against the measure in October.

We’re sure more will be on hand Tuesday evening to let their thoughts be known.

We fully support the work of our police officers and firefighters as they go out into the community to protect our lives. This is in no way a statement against them or the efforts they put forth each day.

But the citizens of Weirton deserve to have a full picture in order to understand where their money is going.

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