Fire levy falls short in votes: How VFDs are responding

Marion County, W.Va. (WDTV)-- "I'm honestly disappointed and I just hope that everyone is still going to be taken care of properly."

The Marion County Commission signed the order of a fire levy to be placed on the ballot for this year's general election.

To much disappointment to those who serve and live in the community, the levy fell short of the 60% majority vote it required.

"The majority of the people did vote for it, but we have to have 60% and we only hit 59.21%," said Barry Bledsoe, the President of the Marion County Firefighters' Association.

The fire levy would have helped 13 volunteer fire departments get more funding.

"It would help purchase gear and training. Training is very expensive for the firefighters. It's like $300 just for the class that they need to step foot on a truck," said Monica Rouzee, the Assistant Chief at the Boothsville Volunteer Fire Department.

Now, several departments may not be able to stand for much longer.

"There are probably four departments in this county that, if we lose any of the funding we currently have, they'll probably close their doors," said Bledsoe.

"I have two sets of grandparents who live in a rural community. They don't have the fire department right down the road from them like I do. What are they going to do if the volunteer fire department is not going to get there," said Marion County resident, Tisha Snodgrass.

The levy would have been the cheapest levy in the county. On average, each person would pay $12 a year per $100,000 worth of property.

Officials tell 5 News, without this levy, people might end up paying more in the long run.

"As soon as a department closes their doors, their insurance rates are going to double," said Bledsoe.

Officials say the levy would help them afford insurance, as the smallest department in the county still pays $13,000 a year for it.

Volunteer firefighters say they do this job for the community and they just wanted to see that support come through the votes.

"There are departments out there that really needed this and there's possibility that some may close their doors," said Rouzee.

It will be another two years before the levy would be able to be put back on the ballot.

Each department was expected to get about $60,000 per year for the four-year levy.