Huntington Council's Mostly Agreeable Work Session May Foretell Smooth Monday Meeting...

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Actually, someone else said it first. And, they have a superstitious worry that voicing the prediction will result in the inverse occurring.  Still, the Huntington City Council Thursday afternoon, Jan. 20, work session saw few disagreements among those present.

Modifications to city departments purchasing authority could likely trigger the most discussion. Finance Chairman Steve Williams would prefer that the current $15,000 threshold be left in place, but he’s willing to compromise.

Questions surfaced on the procedure which requires that purchases over $15,000 be given an up or down council vote. The amount had been $5,000 but it had not been raised since the 70s.

After the purchase of one salt spreader by the administration, councilman Jim Ritter offered a renewal of the lower limits. Council had turned down the purchase of two spreaders, but Mayor Kim Wolfe sought advice from several council members before making the purchase which was well under the limit.

The ordinance for vote Monday would retain the current limit for council purchase approval, but require that all council members be notified within a week of purchases that are over $7,500.

“We think the $15,000 policy is sufficient, but this is a compromise,” Williams said.

The proposal comes from the Finance Committee with an unfavorable recommendation i.e. they prefer that the notification not be required.

Another vote will be to move the so-call “open mike” good and welfare portion of the meeting back to the first part of the meeting.  This would allow the public to speak on topics not on the agenda without waiting through the entire council meeting.

In addition, possession of synthetic marijuana will likely be outlawed in Huntington.

Other items include three zoning ordinances.

Praise came forth during the session, though, for the hard work by members of the Huntington Fire and Police Departments in their on line and phone research to either secure the grant or obtain an application for the money.

As sponsor councilman Scott Caserta said, the grants do not come looking for us to hand out money. The Huntington Police/Fire Departments must diligently search for grant funding sources that fulfill needs and help offset budget woes.

Council meets Monday, Jan 24 at 7:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

NOTE: Due to the Comcast internet outage Thursday, the computers at City Hall were down and the agenda has not yet been posted on line.

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