Mayor Reports City Financing on Track; Ticketing, Towing on Tap for Cars not Moved for Street Sweeping

Updated 1 year ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Mayor Reports City Financing on Track; Ticketing, Towing on Tap for Cars not Moved for Street Sweeping

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has told Huntington City Council during its Monday, May 22 meeting that with 83% of the fiscal year in the books, the city has collected 84% of projected revenue and has incurred 78% of projected expenses. 

"Public works, the Police and Fire departments are on pace or under budget, " Williams said. He indicated the insurance line item is 78%. 

He announced a new hire --- Rick Montgomery, formerly of Sullivan & Webb, as budget manager. 

Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli delivered the April 2017 report from HPD. The department received 3,629 calls from which 647 reports were made. 248 arrests were made. He detailed traffic crash reports as 148. He did not specify a further break down of crime statistics. 

In addition, prior to police issuing enforcement for parked car ticketing during street sweeping,Tony Maranto of Contract Sweepers  presented a slide show the difficulties and inefficiencies of parked cars and grass grown on curb lines on cleaning streets. 

Councilwoman Tina LeMaster complained that sweeping jobs "have not been done correctly" and that the city has been neither towing or ticketing vehicles left in place. To date, sweepers have "gone around" parked cars. 

Councilman Alex Vence noted that residents complain there "is no place to put cars". He was told that a 24 hour towing notice is the customary amount. 

In addition, Vence inquired about the costs of sweepers, which cost about $250,000.  Two sweepers would be needed for purchase for the city to replicate the machinery portion of the program administered by the Huntington Sanitary Board. 

At large councilwoman Rebecca Thacker suggested that the city website post schedules. Communications director Bryan Chambers indicated that the site does post schedules. 

Thacker and Vence both inquired about 'dust' factors, but Maranto maintained this was not a problem. 

LeMaster continued lumping most sweeping issues with the inconvenience of cars left unticketed, untowed, and unmoved. Bates  and City Attorney Scott Damron stressed that the current ordinance is a 'may' not a shall on ticketing and towing. Bates said a new one with 'shall' would have to pass council to make enforcement mandatory. 

Regarding questions that council did not approve the Columbus, Ohio, street cleaning contract, Steve Williams explained that council does not have to approve the Sanitary Board contract as it is "in the every day course of business."  The WV Supreme Court in the late 90s ordered that the HSB had the responsibility to keep the streets clean. 

Without dissent council heard first reading of an ordinance that nearly doubles municipal court cost fees from $35 to $65. 

During Good and Welfare Rebecca Thacker thanked everyone for their prayers and support as she recovered from a flesh eating bacterial infection at a local hospital. 

Earlier, Blair Taylor, director of West Virginia's Pension Oversight Board, explained procedures and requirements. 

Council meetings are now available on Facebook Live, as well as Comcast Channel 24. 

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