MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va. A deal has been reached to add the Morgantown Fire Department to the county fire protection levy, expected to be on the May ballot.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Monongalia County Volunteer Fire Association President Mickey Rinehart said the Morgantown Fire Department will be added to the list of 14 units that are supported by the proceeds.

“We were able to set a levy rate, and now it’s the distribution among all the entities after adding the city to it,” Rinehart said.

The levy was initially instituted in 2016, when the city of Morgantown was working on a fire fee system and declined to be included. The city declined again during the renewal effort in 2020. Morgantown City Manager Kim Haws said this request is made to improve services and make sure tax payers in the city limits are treated fairly.

Rinehart said the two different services once held some animosity, but that is changing rapidly.

“But, as time has gone on, that has gone away significantly, and we do now seem to work better with the volunteers and the paid together,” Rinehart said.

Rinehart said it will be up to the county commission and state officials to approve the documents in order to get the proposal on the May ballot.

“They will pass it on to the state for approval, to the state auditor’s office,” Rinehart said. “Then it will come back to be voted on by the commission to be put on the ballot in May.”

The only role the commissioners will play is to make sure the ballot request is correct in form and that the request can be understood by voters at the polls.

“The county obviously wants to look it over to make sure the wording is adequate and what it needs to be,” Rinehart said. “Of course the state is looking at the numbers as well at the auditor’s office.”

The current levy expires June 30, 2025, and if passed, this renewal would begin the following day. The current levy generates $660,000, which is divided equally between the county brush fire team, the hazardous materials team, and the 12 volunteer departments in the county. The county association also receives a stipend.