Kanawha County Commission to vote on Metro 911 fee increase

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission will vote this week at their Thursday meeting on whether to raise the Metro 911 service fee.

The proposal for a residential line would increase $4 amonth to $5.60 a month, amounting to about $67 per year. Commissoner Dave Hardy said that Metro 911 has been innodated with more calls over the years as cell phones have become more common.

“Instead of getting one call or two or three calls when there’s an accident, now it’s very common for Metro to get 10 or 15 calls,” Hardy said. “Which isn’t a bad thing. That means people know they need to call 911 when there’s a problem. But the volume is way up on number of calls.”

The fee hasn’t been raised since 2010 and Hardy said the workforce has remained the same with 85 employees that work all the time.

“I think in the scheme of what county government needs to deliver, Metro 911 is the most important thing they’re involved with,” Hardy said. “The goal is to have someone there 24/7, 365 days. The Metro Center never closes. It’s always challenging in today’s world to keep up with all the technology.”

Hardy said he wasn’t sure how he would vote on the proposed increase, but he said he wants to evaluate it carefully and make sure the public understands the reasons for the raise.

“I’ll take my time, go over the data and make sure I understand the financial implications of the request,” he said. “And if there’s an increase, I want to be sure we explain to the public why we had to raise the fee.”

Hardy explained that Metro 911 used to receive about 200,000 calls a year, and now that number is roughly 500,000.