Huntington City Council Approves Fuel Contract; Townhouse Development

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Huntington City Council approved  a contract with Speed Fleet, after finance director Deron Runyon clarified possible variances between The Transit Authority and the for profit Speedway/SuperAmerica vendor.

During the work session, council member Russ Houck who is  also a member of the Transit Authority Board, had stated that the city could save $50,000 a year by selecting TTA.  Council member Scott Caserta along with Houck had proposed further exploration concerning the savings amount.

Runyon spoke with Paul Davis, TTA General Manager, Monday, Feb. 28 After breaking down details, Runyon told council, “ I just don’t believe the validity that there would be any additional savings if we used TTA.”

The figure relied upon by Houck had apparently came from a comment by Cabell County Commissioner and TTA board member Bob Bailey.  TTA provides fuel to the Cabell County vehicle fleet, but the rate is nearly identical to Super Fleet, which provides fuel to Marshall University, Lexington, Ky., and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Council member and TTA board member Rebecca Thacker asked about the length of the contract with Super Fleet.

Runyon explained that it was for four years, but should a better price be found , the city would have an annual opportunity to opt out.

Earlier, councilman Steve Williams had stressed that Super Fleet  has the greater security capabilities including real time monitoring of gasoline re-fueling. In addition, city cars can go to any Speedway or Super America station, which Police Chief Skip Holbrook supports from the perspective of an unmarked, covert car potentially being spotted filling the city garage pumps.

During public comment, union representative Jim Porter, inquired whether this contract meant that the city garage or city pumps would be closing.

Williams clarified that the tanks and pumps at the city owned garage do have environmental issues, but those issues have not been “reviewed or accessed” by either the Finance Committee nor council in the fuel contract.

Recalling the gas shortages of the 70s and the turmoil in the Middle East, Porter recommended that the city consider keeping the city pumps filled as a backup in the event of a crisis. He added , the city could lock in a price by filling the tanks now.

Council voted 9-0 to pass the contract. Council members Houck and Caserta were absent.

UPSCALE CONDOS

Council approved the rezoning of a section of 25th Street in the Highlawn area to R-5 (multiple residential) to enable the development of a 27 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom units in a gated community with pool , fitness center and other state of the art amenities.

Developer Jeremy Adams, who grew up in the Highlawn area, will market the condos primarily to Marshall University medical school students.  They will run $750 to $1,050 per month.

He estimated that construction costs will be between $2.4-$2.6 million dollars and once complete the property will have a $4.1 million dollar appraisal.

Also, council approved the abandoning and sale of a strip of land to Rubberlite, which will use the property for expansion.

Council postponed a vote on the zoning of property at 2001 Seventh Avenue. The former warehouse was the home of Perfect Printing. A developer wants to build residential units in its place.

Its status becomes uncertain. The developer has an option on the property that expires March 15. It’s contingent on rezoning.

Insco said that the committee had additional questions about the project and that the responsible city employee will be on medical leave for two weeks.

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