QUIET DELL, W.Va. (WBOY) — Quiet Dell residents are raising questions after many of them say they received a Fire Service Fee Invoice in the mail.
According to the West Virginia Route 20 Fire District website, on April 12, 1982, the Harrison County Commission approved the formation of the Rural Fire Protection District, now known as the Quiet Dell Rural Fire Protection District. The Nutter Fort Fire Department, along with the Stonewood Volunteer Fire Department was then granted the responsibility to respond to fire needs within that district.
When this agreement went into effect, a $25 fee was agreed to. Since then, Stonewood and Nutter Fort residents have begun paying a fire service fee, while Quiet Dell received the same services for free over the last 40 years. Since the agreement, the fee has been raised to $150.
While discussing the fees with Stonewood VFD, Fire Chief Ron Woods told 12 News that the fees are being issued due to rising costs and the state of the economy.
“One firefighter nowadays, to equip him completely between the air pack, the bunker coat, the bunker pants, the helmet, the gloves, everything. You’re looking at 12 to $15,000 just for one fireman,” Woods said. To avoid exposure to cancer-causing agents, all of that gear expires within a ten-year time period, meaning that the departments cannot use it anymore and have to reissue new gear.
However, firemen’s gear is not the only equipment this money will go towards. There are also things like engine maintenance fees, fuel to fill up the engines and two different classes to get volunteers qualified in order to help. The Stonewood VFD Fire Chief welcomes citizens to come and look at their budget at any time to see where all the money they receive from the state and residents is going.
The money received from these fire service fees will be split between the two Volunteer Fire Departments, who both budget their needs individually.
The $150 fee will need to be paid by June 30, 2024. You can make your payment at this website. Woods has been in the fire industry for 47 years and also lives in the Quiet Dell area. He has two properties so he will pay a total of $300.
The two departments are not expecting residents to pay the full $150 at one time. Woods said that people can make payments and they can call the City of Stonewood or the Town of Nutter Fort so that they can work with them.
Woods said that there was no other way to get the money needed for the departments and that this is its only saving grace. While the department does fundraisers, applies for grants and receives around $56,000 from the state every year, the costs of its needs exceed its funding.
With volunteerism dying, Chief Woods pays four employees to work during the day to be able to sustain the Department. At the end of the day, he said that this is not about trying to make themselves rich.
“Open your heart and your wallet and keep your departments alive so we can save you and protect you and your property and your family, that’s it,” Woods said.
An informal meeting will be held on Nov. 2 at the Quiet Dell United Methodist Church beginning at 7 p.m., for anyone who may still have questions. Woods said that he will either answer every question or do his best to find an answer.