Fire Department Funding in West Virginia 101

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State Funding: An Overview

  • “…W.Va. Code ยง33-3-33: …collected by the Insurance Commission, one source of the money is a 0.55 percent surcharge imposed on fire and casualty insurance policies issued in West Virginia.
  • “…W.Va. Code ยง33-3-14d established an additional premium tax equal to one percent of taxable premiums on fire insurance, and casualty insurance policies to be collected by the Insurance Commission.”
  • “…W.Va. Code ยง29-3E-7 created a fireworks safety fee of 12 percent of all retail sales of consumer fireworks in the State.”

[Source: Annual Volunteer Fire Department Audit Report – 2022]

Local: Excess Levies and Fire Fees

An excess levy is a property tax collected above the regular tax rate, generally providing financial support to local programs such as schools, EMS, fire departments, and public transit. Around 20 of the state’s counties have county-level excess levies.

Some counties have also imposed fire fees. These are essentially taxes that are earmarked for fire departments. Additionally, the state’s larger municipalities have the power to impose similar fire fees, and also user fees, which can also be used to fund fire protection.

The scope of the map below includes county-level fire levies and fire fees. Some municipalities have also adopted levies and fees, but not at the county level. For more information, check out this helpful resource from the State Auditor.

Source: Special Excess Levies In Effect for Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2028 – West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, updated July 2023 (PDF).