Public Notice

June 23, 2015
Section I – An ordinance creating the Ohio County Fire Service User Fee: providing for an annual charge based on type of structure and square footage; providing that the Assessor shall fix the square footage of property; and providing for publication of this user fee as a Class II legal advertisement in compliance with the provision of West Virginia Code Section 59-3-2.

Section II – There is hereby created an Ohio County Fire Service User Fee to be imposed by the County Commission upon the users of the fire service. This Fire Service Fee is a “user fee” of fire services in Ohio County. The fees generated from property owners in Ohio County shall defray in part the costs of fire protection and service as provided by Volunteer Fire Departments in Ohio County. The fees set forth herein defray a portion of the costs of providing the fire service. The “users” of the fire service are the property owners of Ohio County and others. Any differential in the fees charged herein bear a direct relationship to the degree and nature of the fire service actually provided, including the training, preparedness and costs of equipment and vehicles to efficiently provide fire protection to various property owners’ types and sizes of structures and enhanced degree of difficulty to provide the necessary level of enhanced fire protection.

Section III Rates
Residential $50.00 annually

0 to 2500 sq. ft. $62.50 annually
2501 to 7500 sq. ft. $313.50 annually
7501 to 20,000 sq. ft. $625.00 annually
20,001 to 200,000 sq. ft. $937.50 annually
200,001 and over $1,250.00 annually

Active Well Pads $5,000.00 annually
(irrespective of the number of wells
drilled, producing or not, but capable
of production)

Compressor Sations $5,000.00 annually

Communication Towers $625.00 annually

Section IV – The County Assessor is hereby empowered and authorized to fix the square footage of property for the purpose of establishing the user service fee charged under this Ordinance.

Section V – This Ordinance shall be published once a week for two successive weeks in a qualified newspaper published in this County, pursuant to West Virginia Code Section 59-3-2.

Section VI – Continuation, Maintenance and Improvement of Fire Service

The service of fire protection shall be continued, maintained and improved by the Fire Service, in part, at the charge and expense of the owners of all buildings and structures of every kind and nature within the County which said owners are declared to be users and beneficiaries of such fire protection service. The charges and expenses with respect to each of such users and beneficiaries shall be imposed, assessed and collected as set out in this Ordinance. In the event the County Fire Board determines an increase in any such fee imposed by this section is necessary, it shall, by resolution, request the County Commission for such an increase. Procedures set forth in this section for the initial levy of such a fee shall be followed by the County Commission in the event an increase is sought.

Section VII – Definitions: Continuation, Maintenance and Improvement of Fire Service; Legislative Intent; Fire Board to Administer Regulations; Use of Funds; Severability; and Assessment of Fees

“Residential structure” means any structure which is used or intended by the nature of its construction to be used by its owners and occupants for living and sleeping quarters, but shall not include rental property, hotels, motels to other buildings intended primarily for transient lodging.

“Non-residential structure” means any structure which is used or intended by the nature of its construction to be used for any purpose other than “residential” but shall also be deemed to include rental property, hotels, motels, or other buildings intended primarily for transient lodging, commercial and industrial structures and institutional buildings.

“Mixed use building” means any structure that has a combination of residential and non-residential uses. The predominant usage of the structure is determined by the greatest usage of the total footage by one or the other uses. Such structure will be charged at a rate determined by the predominant usage.

“Story” means that part of a structure included between any floor and the floor or roof next above, excluding basements and attics.

“Basement” shall mean that portion of a building which is located below the level or the adjoining ground, and which is unfinished and not utilized as a part of the living or working area of the building.

“Total square feet” means that sum as measured by the exterior dimensions of the structure multiplied by the number of stories, but shall not include any part of a structure encompassed by the following: porches (unless entirely enclosed for all-weather purposes); basements (not utilized as the living or working area of the building); attics; garages; and other buildings.

Section VIII – Effective Date; Schedule of Payment; Penalty

This Ordinance shall become effective July 1, 2015. The Fire Protection Users Fees imposed under this Ordinance shall be due and payable annually by halves; the last date to pay the first half for tax year 2015 being September 1, 2015; and the last date to pay the second half being March 1, 2016. A penalty of ten percent (10{4ceb532c6f579389df471c6c1e832caf2346b74dc60fcbf6aabd4d29df3baf9c}) of the Fire Protection Users Fee shall be added for the failure to pay the installments by the due date and each delinquent payment shall bear annual statutory interest, inclusive of the aforesaid penalty, until paid.

Section IX – Use of Funds for Fire Protection Only

The revenues received for the collection of Fire Protection User Fees shall be used only to defray the cost of the continuance, maintenance or improvement of fire protection service within the County, and no part of such revenues shall be used for any other County purpose. Any fees imposed under this article are dedicated to the County Fire Board for the purpose provided in this article, and shall be on deposit in a discreet account and not comingled with other funds.

Section X – Legislative Intent

The imposition of Fire Service users Fee under this Ordinance is pursuant to authorization set forth in West Virginia Code Section 7-17-1 et seq. In accordance with said statute, it is the legislative intent of this Ordinance that the fees imposed hereunder are based, in part, upon recognition of the following legislative finding:

(a) The size of a building (as reflected by the total square feet) is a factor which affects the cost of providing fire protection. Therefore, it is the intent and purpose of this Ordinance that the fees imposed hereunder be related, in part, to the size of the building.

(b) The nature and extent of the fire hazard potential of the building or structure.

Section XI – Ordinance to be Administered by the Fire Service Board
The Board is hereby authorized to promulgate such regulations as are necessary and reasonable to carry out the provisions of this Ordinance.

Section XII – Appeal Procedure and Exonerations
(a) Any affected property owner may appeal any charge imposed pursuant to this ordinance. The property owner to whom such notice is given may, within thirty days after service thereof, either personally or by certified mail, file with the Board a petition in writing, setting forth with particularly the items of the charge objected to, together with the reasons for the objection. If no petition is filed, the few imposed shall become final land not subject to administrative or judicial review. The amount of the fee imposed shall be due and payable on the day following the date upon which the assessment becomes final.

(b) When a petition provided for in the preceding paragraph is filed within the time prescribed for such filing, the Board shall assign a time and a place for a hearing thereon and shall notify the petitioner of such hearing by written notice at least twenty days in advance thereof. The hearing shall be held within one hundred days of the filing of the petition.

The hearing shall be informal and shall be conducted in an impartial manner by the Board or a hearing examiner designated by the Board.

The burden of proof shall be upon the petitioner to show that the fee imposed is incorrect and contrary to law, in whole or in part. After any such hearing, the Board shall, within a reasonable time, give notice in writing of his decision.

(c) If no appeal is taken within thirty days after service of the administrative decision, the Board’s decision shall become final and conclusive. The amount if any, due the Board under the decision shall be due and payable on the day following the date upon which such decision becomes final.

(d) Any property owner requesting total or partial exoneration from any charge may do so either personally or in writing with the Board. The Board, within a reasonable time, shall cause to be investigated any request for exoneration and, at the next regular Board meeting, make a recommendation regarding the exoneration request. If proper cause for exoneration is shown, the Board shall exonerate any or all imposed charges, and shall notify the property owner in writing of said exoneration. If the Board does not exonerate the property owner, an appeal may be filed, pursuant to this article. Any property owner who is not satisfied with the appeal decision of the Board may appeal the decision to the Circuit Court of Ohio County.

Section XIII – Enforcement

In the event that a fire department is called to the property owner who is delinquent in payment of the user fee, a penalty of $250.00, in addition to all fees owed, may be charged to the property owner. Any and all legal means will be pursued to secure payment of the fire service user’s fee.

Section XIV – Severability

It is hereby declared to be the intention of the County Commission that the sections paragraphs, sentences, clauses and phrases of this Ordinance be severable and if any section, paragraph, sentenced, clause or phrase of this Ordinance be or the application thereof to any person or circumstances shall be declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid by the judgment or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality or invalidity shall not affect any of the remaining sections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses or phrases of this Ordinance of the application thereof to any other person or circumstance.

Dated this 23rd day of June, 2015

By Tim McCormick, President
By Gregory L. Stewart, Administrator
Intelligencer June 29, & July 6, 2015
News_Register June 29, & July 6, 2015