by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Huntington Mayor Wolfe May Veto Spending Ordinance, According to Some Members of Council

If it happens, veto likely to be delivered to clerk Monday, Some Council Members Say

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Call it speculation, rumor or just counting the votes, but several members of Huntington City Council would not be surprised if Mayor Wolfe vetoes the spending reduction ordinance. Passed at the Monday, Jan. 23 council meeting, the ordinance reduces from $15,000 to $7,500 the purchasing amount which requires a prior approval of council.

Council chairman Mark Bates, just back from a short Florida trip, told HNN Sunday night, Jan. 30, said,  “that’s our strong mayor government, that’s what he’s entitled to do. If it occurs , it will be the first item on our [next] agenda after Good and Welfare.” But Bates stressed his opposition concerned, not the salt spreader, but setting a possible precedent for the future of the administration finding a way to sidestep a council decision. “He could have just bought one” without the need for approval,” Bates said.

The lower purchase limitation squeaked by with a 6-5 margin. Should the Mayor exercise his veto privilege, a two-third majority (i.e. eight votes) would be necessary to override a veto.

However, the new council chairman has strong confidence in the leadership and decisions from the Finance Committee, which has reviewed  lowering  spending levels four times. In each case, they did not recommend returning to the former $5,000 limit, instead, looking for a compromise solution to reflect confidence in the administration and council’s renewed expenditure concerns.

“The finance committee [does] a thorough job going over the budget line item by line item. If there are problems, the committee will identify them at hearings. I have a lot of confidence in my finance committee chairman and committee that if there are red flags they will bring that part [to the full council.]”

At large councilman Williams told HNN Sunday, “I hope so,” regarding the hints from council members that the Mayor is considering the veto.

Councilman Scott Caserta anticipates a veto. “I expect he will veto it. There would not be enough council votes to override the veto since it only passed 6-5,” Caserta said. Councilwoman Frances Jackson has also to HNN that she has heard speculation that a veto will occur.

Meanwhile, Bates told HNN that he believes the disagreements over the spending issue are more symbolic. He believes “through communication maybe we can eliminate these stumps of the toe. If not eliminate them, it will decrease their likelihood of happening.”

Several issues in the past has drawn uncomfortable concerns from various council members with one of the bottom lines appearing to ask that all of council be informed of important decisions before they happen and in specific before they reach the media. Council members want to know ahead of the public announcement, so they can be in the mix when constituents start phoning. They have more than once expressed contentions to be able to know a little more than what has just been announced at a news conference.