Chamber News


10 Reasons to Vote For the Safety Levy

On May 13, voters will have opportunity to support services on which we’ve come to depend by supporting the Ambulance, Bus & Emergency Services Levy. For nearly four decades, voters have voted “for” this critical protection plan, and this year, there are many reasons to continue the tradition. 1)    A vote for the safety levy means no tax increase. First passed in 1973, the levy would continue at the same rate, amounting to about 18 cents a day for the average household. If our friends and family are in danger, is rapid response worth 18 cents a day? The answer is clear. 2)    The Kanawha County Ambulance Authority would continue receiving the funding it needs to keep 40 ambulances out of 14 stations and three advance life support units on the road. Last year, they answered 53,451 calls. They respond to 90 percent of calls within eight minutes. In addition, the Charleston Fire Department’s Ambulance Division responded to 12,000 calls for service...Read More >

Police & Fire Unions Issue Call for Voters to Pass Safety Levy

Police and fire union representatives gathered at South Charleston’s No. 2 Fire Station today to sound the alarm urging voters to pass the safety levy, which appears on the May 11 primary ballot.  The levy is a continuation of the existing levy and requires 60 percent approval to pass. Every vote counts. The levy raises $14.9 million annually for ambulance, bus, fire and police services. Failure of the levy will result in dramatic cutbacks in vital services to our community. Fire and police officials also reminded voters to be sure to turn over their ballots to vote “FOR” the safety levy. The measure is located on the back. If the levy fails, we will see a loss in automatic response for vehicle accidents, reduced service in rural areas, a decrease in bus service and transportation for the disabled and a longer response time for 911 calls. The levy is not a tax increase. Kanawha County households now pay about 14 cents a...Read More >

On May 11, services need voters’ help

This op-ed from Chairman Michael Basile and President Matt Ballard appeared in today’s Charleston Daily Mail. On May 11, Kanawha County voters are being asked to make a decision that could literally could mean the difference between life or death for your family – renewing the safety levy. The safety levy raises $14.9 million yearly for ambulance services, local police and fire departments and the KRT. Failure of the levy would result in loss of automatic response for vehicle accidents, reduced service in rural areas, a decrease in bus service and transportation for the disabled, and a longer response time for 911 calls. It could also mean that we look to other sources of funding.   Consider the situation in Tracy, Calif., where residents now have to pay every time they call 911. According to New York Times Pulitzer-winning columnist Tom Friedman, “residents can pay a $48 voluntary fee for the year, which allows them to call 911 as many...Read More >

A Show of Strength for Safety

More than 100 first responders, government representatives and business leaders today came together in a show of strength for safety as the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce officially announced its endorsement of the upcoming safety levy. The levy, which is on the May 11 Kanawha County ballot, is a continuation of the existing levy and requires 60 percent approval to pass. Every vote counts. The levy raises $14.9 million annually for ambulance, bus, fire and police services.    Failure of the levy will result in dramatic cutbacks in vital services to our community. We must not allow this protection plan to fail. If it does, we will see a loss in automatic response for vehicle accidents, reduced service in rural areas, a decrease in bus service and transportation for the disabled and a longer response time for 911 calls. The levy is not a tax increase. Kanawha County households now pay about 14 cents a day to support 22 fire departments...Read More >