Steel of WV Statement on HSB Increase

Updated 48 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
John O'Connor
John O'Connor

Following the Finance Committee of Huntington City Council that approved the Huntington Sanitary Board's recommendation by a 5-0 vote for a 57% increase, public comments were permitted.

Council woman Rebecca Thacker asked the impact of stretching the increase out over ten years so it would be more affordable to the disabled, elderly, business, and other economically disadvantaged groups. She is unmentioned in any other media coverage; the back of her wheelchair and jacket can be seen on WSAZ. She was NOT provided paperwork since she opposed the increase.

No council member commented. No one asked her a question. She had not been given the paperwork of committee members and sat on the elevated platform to the far right.

STEEL OF WV STATEMENT MR. OCONNOR:

Steel of WV Statement on HSB Increase

"It is disappointing that Huntington City Council is so intent to force upon the citizens and businesses of Huntington with little thought or consideration a huge three year sewer rate increase, which lacks justification from the Huntington Sanitation Board's own financial documents.

Council's Finance Committee had one agenda tonight and that was to force the rate increase through Committee regardless of its merits and without regard to a proper vetting of the issues. When members of the public pointed out shortcomings in the Sanitation Board's presentation and asked that Council explore those shortcomings, the Finance Committee simply plowed ahead and ignored their responsibility to demand justification before imposing such a heavy burden on the citizens of Huntington.

Steel of WV Statement on HSB Increase

The timing here is remarkable. The outgoing Council is pushing the matter through during a lame-duck session, after the November election and before new Council members can seated.

After Councilmember Ball attempted to justify the unusual timing by having an expert claim responsibility for the lateness of the proposed increase on a need to thoroughly explore cost assumptions, the Finance Committee prohibited a member of the public from asking the expert whether it was equally important for Council to take the time to understand the need for the increases before approving them."

 

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