ST. ALBANS, W.Va. -- The city of St. Albans is a step closer to passing an ordinance that would enact a storm water fee for residents and businesses.
City Council unanimously approved the ordinance's first reading Tuesday evening.
Mayor Dick Callaway noted that a public hearing would be held on the proposal. After the hearing and a second reading, council members will vote on whether to adopt the ordinance.
As explained at the Feb. 3 City Council meeting by accountant Michael Griffith of Griffith and Associates, the purpose of the fee is to bring the municipality into compliance with federal Clean Water Act requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Initially, both residents and commercial interests would be charged a flat $7.50 monthly fee on their water or sewer bill. At a later time, officials would calculate a formula for charging businesses.
Storm water fee collection could start as early as July 1, 2014.
Ward 1 Councilman Robert Keiffer proposed moving council meetings to an earlier time of the evening. The meetings are currently at 7:30 p.m., and Keiffer suggested moving them to 6 or 6:30 p.m. Without opposition, council members voted to send the proposal to the ordinance committee.
"There are some who would like to come here and speak but will not do so at 8:30 at night," Keiffer said. "Some work all day and aren't going to go home and come back out. There are around 12,000 people in the city, and about 11,700 have probably never sat in on a council meeting."
Keiffer said an earlier time would be beneficial for everyone, regardless of the season.
City Council, in moving the motion to the ordinance committee, wanted the issue decided and put in place before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.