LETTER: Challenge to Citizens- Submit Suggestions as Alternatives to User Fee Increase

Updated 3 years ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

Dear Editor,

Don't want to the usage fee to raise  $2.00 per week to $5.00 per week?  That's a total fee of  $520 a year for a  working couple? It spirals to $1040 a year if they have a two teens working part-time.   Share your ideas now.
Citizens probably have dozens of ideas.  All should have a say.  Voice suggestions during the Monday, Sept. 28 Huntington City Council meeting which begins at 7:30 p.m.  They vote tonight!

Did not the current mayor promise not to increase this fee, when he ran?
Seems the last administration exited due to opposition to the occupation tax and an user fee increase. There is not a "mandate" to increase the user fee.  Changing the reason for the increase as an excuse, seems  like double talk. Why not put it to a city wide vote as suggested by one councilwoman?
This city  "user fee" masquerades as an income tax. . Is not the user fee and it's proposed increase just a flat rate income tax? So, it's premise would be flawed...

(Editor's Note: The WV Supreme Court has upheld the "user fees" ordinances for Huntington, Charleston and Beckley.  The court affirmed that the user fee is a FEE and not a TAX.However, the Court ruled in 2005 that Charleston citizens must vote on its increase. The vote order was issued because the City of Charleston failed to follow state requirements for notice and publication.   SEE http://wvrecord.com/stories/510589610-supreme-court-upholds-charleston-u... , Cooper v. City of Charleston.  Cooper can be downloaded below by clicking the PDF attachment. )


A short list of ideas follows:

1. increase the B&O tax back to what it was, and collect all unpaid back B&O taxes (how much is that)? 
2.  Consider selling the the Civic Center that costs millions and runs at a deficit. 
3. Raise the municipal fee slightly for fire dept. Base increases on value and size of structures and contents.
  4. "Economic Development" means tax breaks and money to a few rich businesses, even national chains. Not only does tickle down economics  not work well, but these funds would be better spent on roads, police, and fire.
  5 Charge higher fines and higher court  fees (on assault,  violent crimes, theft, PI, drugs and repeat offenders).  Should they not pay more if more police are needed? Similarly, add a  fee on  nuisance businesses such as the roughest bars, pawn shops, and scrap metal buyers. 

6.  Levy a small  road usage fee on all property based on the value of property. Let businesses who benefit from the roads, pay the most based on  number of customers visits, number of employees, and number and size and weight of company vehicles. Three of the four roads on the repair list  noted in the news are residential. Why are they the responsibility of nonresidents,
Contact info for the mayor, council members and financial data are at the City of Huntington web site.. Mayor Williams can be contacted atswilliams@cityofhuntington.com.   Council info:  http://www.cityofhuntington.com/city-government/city-council-clerk/city-council-members

Marilyn Howells, Huntington, WV  
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