Council Discussing Comcast Cable, Barges, former Naval Reserve and Zoning

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Council anticipates a significant jobs announcement, but mooring barges on the Ohio in Westmoreland will spark exhaustive debate.

Placing barges for cleaning , coal transfer or mooring has been an intent of a company for nearly a couple of decades. The authorization has been litigated and litigated.

Citizens of Westmoreland do not want their view of the shore line obstructed and the air filled with coal dust. On the other hand, the facility means jobs and resolving a judgment that stands against the City of Huntington.

Councilman Jim Ritter has already firmly re-stated, “I’m against barges along a residential portion of Westmorland.” He wants City Attorney Scott McClure to stand firm.

So does Council member Rebecca Thacker, who added, “I don’t want them in my neighborhood.”

However, Nate Randolph “believes in the abilities of our city attorney to relieve our exposure to litigation,” particularly a matter that is “not covered by insurance.”

Based on the work session, the resolution will first be sent to the Finance Committee for discussion.

Steve Williams was not present at the work session, but council chairman Mark Bates said a finance committee meeting would be scheduled shortly.

 

COMCAST CABLE COMPETITION?

 

Appointments to the cable television advisory board are also on the agenda.

Council’s vice chairperson, Sandra Clements, emphasized that “we want the appointees to play an active role” in determining whether “we want competition” with Comcast.

Thacker chimed the current service is “down more than it is up.” And, Ritter said no only does he receive “calls about internet service down,” his own was not working when he spoke.

Calling to report each and every interruption can be time consuming too, especially, when no one will be at home either later that day or the next. However, by not complaining, the company may or may not acknowledge a credit for down time.

Previously, City Hall has had internet woes from Comcast too. Finance Chairman Steve Williams and the council chairman Mark Bates have both complained that internet outages impact business.

The franchise has not been renewed by the city. Among exploratory options, allowing a second cable/internet provider to compete with Comcast.

Aside from the spotty internet issues, the price of services has drawn ire.

For instance, by examining the Comcast rate card, they now have added a fee for “wire maintenance.” Previously, if the outside wire went out, it was the cable company’s responsibility. But, one rate card states that the company’s responsibilities end twelve inches from the connection to the house.

Comcast, like the phone company, offers the monthly “insurance” fee on inside and outside wires other than for a consumer to pay for the service call. Customers have more and more issues with “who’s at fault” in these scenarios. The answer determines whether the call is charged to the account holder.

 

NAVAL RESERVE

Another matter up for discussion --- the Huntington Sanitary Board has an opportunity to acquire the former Naval Reserve Building from the federal government. However, the structures has been stripped of interior copper, which means extensive renovation. Normally, the feds give up to a year to complete the work, but the Sanitary Board is asking for three years.

Executive Director Loretta Covington has estimated that $500,000 will be needed for renovations. Mayor Wolfe has explained that the Sanitary operation will not occupy the entire facility. He has proposed that cars impounded by the police department be stored there.

Wolfe explained that police evidence “must be secure,” suggesting the city would save money by operating its own empoundment facility.

The matter before council does not commit any funds, but allows the city and board to further study acquisition of the property.

 

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