Council Holds Budget Session @ 5 p.m. Thursday at Huntington City Hall

by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor

A special call meeting of Huntington City Council at 5 p.m. will discuss the fiscal 2017-2018 budget, including response to issues delegated to the administration regarding two proposed tweaks which would allow more police officers and firefighters.

Council members have proposed an overtime cutting method to add six police officers and similarly utilizing cuts in fire department 'unscheduled overtime' to either finance the hiring of two firefighters or cover the 'match' portion of a grant for which the department has applied.

Since the last budget meeting, Local 598 of AFSCME has approved a contract offer by the city;  Goldstar Lodge 65 has filed for a declaratory judgment blocking health premium increases for current employees and retirees; and members of IAFF local 289 voted overwhelmingly to reject the contract.

The administration has put police negotiations "on hiatus" pending the outcome of the litigation. Firefighters have been informed that the administration will take steps to treat them as non-contractual employees.

The 5 p.m. meeting will be in council chambers and televised on Channel 24.

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