Council Chairman Bates Anticipating a Cautiously Optimistic Glass Half Full State of The City Address by Mayor Kim Wolfe

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Although additional budget cuts are anticipated in the Fiscal 2011-2012 budget, Council Chairman Mark Bates shares Wolfe’s glass half full optimistic approach to structuring the services of the city.

“Obviously there are challenges coming up, but there are opportunities within our grasp,” Bates said, adding “there’s still some hoops to jump through.”

In fact, reacting to the nearly offsetting  stories of layoffs at Special Metals and  of new business coming to Kinetic Park and the Huntington Industrial Center, Bates hinted “hopefully we will have some [additional] good economic news to announce soon, but until the economy gets all four wheels on the ground we need to be optimistically cautious” in terms of fiscal expectations for the City of Huntington. The Special Metals layoffs have no direct city revenue impact as the facility is outside of the city limits, but “ the layoffs will have an obvious impact on the 60 some folks who spend their money here. I hate any kind of news like that.”

As for the State of the City address, “typically the tone of the Mayor’s speech is always optimistic, glass half full instead of half empty. I’m sure they will bring us a very bare bones budget like last year.”

Bates indicated that the budget hearings will likely rotate between after work-session Thursdays (since everyone works an extended shift) and Saturday mornings. The change will accommodate those members of council who do not have Saturday off from their day jobs. In addition , he intends to give members “seven to ten days” to comb through the presented budget and determine their questions.

“We have our own personalities, but we have the same end goal” --- doing what is best for the city. Like member Jim Ritter , Bates referred to the administration and council as a “family” that has “grievances” and “stumps their toes” but works together for the city’s betterment.