UPDATE | Dunbar municipal fee increase

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DUNBAR, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 9/25/19 @ 5:40 p.m.
A new municipal fee is set to take effect in Dunbar at the beginning of October.

New municipal fees, going into place starting this October, will support the city of Dunbar's firefighter pension fund.

The $5 per month, per household fee will go toward the Dunbar firefighters pension fund. The fund has been neglected for years and is significantly underfunded, Mayor Bill Cunningham said.

"It's our responsibility as a city to make sure that their retirement is funded," Cunningham said. "We can't pass that off on someone else. It's been neglected for decades and it is now time to step up and meet that obligation."

The fund currently gets about $40,000 per month, and that is quickly used for the firefighter's benefits, Cunningham said. That number will have to more than double in coming years to meet demands.

In addition to the increased fee, residents will now receive bills on a monthly basis instead of quarterly.

"Reverting to a monthly fee makes it much easier for residents to budget that expense and, hopefully, we can limit the 15% delinquency rate that we have," Cunningham said. "If that money comes in we will be able to do more and greater things in the city."

Over the past year, Dunbar has spent more than $200,000 in additional revenue from reducing delinquency on repairing roads, Cunningham said.

"These increases are just getting out of hand because we are on a fixed income," Carol Sheppard said. "The flood insurance and all of this stuff is just ridiculous for what we have to go through. They pick on the elderly."

Sheppard said that her Social Security payments have not increased, but costs such as Medicare continue to rise.

"I know I have a lot of neighbors who are on a fixed income, and they might not be able to afford it," Briann Steele said. "I know myself and my husband, we struggle to make ends meet as well. Living paycheck to paycheck is a normal reality here in West Virginia, so I think that makes it harder on us."

Residents will get the first new bill in October, and it will be due at the beginning of November.

UPDATE 7/1/19 @11:49 p.m.
Full-time employees in the city of Dunbar will receive a 30-cent an hour pay raise.

The increase is effective immediately.

Dunbar Mayor Bill Cunningham says the motion passed unanimously in its second reading Monday night.

Cunningham says that the city's budget has allowed them to give pay raises for the last three or four years.

Community members in Dunbar will soon be seeing some changes to their city garbage and municipal fees.

Dunbar's city council approved the changes during Monday night's meeting to switch the household garbage fee from quarterly payments to monthly payments.

Council members also approved a $5 increase to the municipal fee.

City Officials say the added fee will go directly toward the unfunded liability of the firefighters pension fund.

Those changes will go into effect in little over a month.

Also Monday night, council members approved a raise for full-time Dunbar city employees.

The raise, which is an additional 30 cents per hour, was passed unanimously.

The rasies will go into effect July 1st.

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