by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Jim Ritter
Jim Ritter

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) - Huntington Mayor Kim Wolfe, as speculated, has vetoed the council ordinance that reduces spending approval for city departments from $15,000 to $7,500.

Council will have an opportunity to override the veto at its, Monday February 14 meeting. The ordinance to reduce the limit passed 6-5.

Council will have an opportunity to override the veto at its, Monday February 14 meeting. The ordinance to reduce the limit passed 6-5. Council members Rebecca Thacker, Russ Houck, Jim Insco and Teresa Loudermilk joined Ritter and Caserta in voting for the reduction.

At the time, Steve Williams, finance committee chairman, sought a compromise in which the spending limit would remain $15,000, but council would be informed in a timely manner of purchases exceeding $7,500.

At the meeting, Ritter said, Stating the Finance Committee had “muddied the waters,” sponsor Jim Ritter cautioned that “people watch what we do.” He then repeated that “council had been worried about this fiscal year,” which recalled the numerous limitations placed on the city’s operations in anticipation of a revenue short-fall due to the recession. “This body has responsibility for the budget,” Ritter stressed.

Councilman Scott Caserta supported Ritter adding, “We’re just not willing to loosen the reins as we were last year.” He prefaced that statement with a comment that “the majority of council” does not “right now have confidence” in the Administration concerning the higher limit.

On the other hand, Police Chief Skip Holbrook and Fire Chief Craig Moore spoke against the more restrictive spending ordinance explaining it would hinder departmental operations of day to day purchases.

This is the Mayor’s first veto since taking office.

He said in another interview that the spending freeze may have been a reaction to his decision to purchase one salt spreader on an emergency purchase after council turned down buying two of them. One was about $11,000.

Wolfe , in hindsight, stated instead of consulting two or three council member on the purchase of one spreader, he should have informed the full council. Thus, the spending reduction , perhaps, undeservedly became an exercise of council’s displeasure over the decision to buy one salt spreader.