Council and Administration Counting Down the Days to the Next Fiscal Year

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Charles Holley
Charles Holley

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – With less than six weeks remaining, the ears of the administration and finance committee both glistened and shuddered on analytic phrases coming out of Huntington Finance Director, Deron Runyon’s, mouth. Runyon forecasts a $560,000 carryover, suggesting that the million dollar goal would only be met if “revenue estimates come in low.”

But, the city’s self-insured employee program has been averaging below budget in medical and pharmaceutical costs. The city has averaged about $93,000 a week in costs where the budget envisioned $123,000 a week. Consequently, the city could have about $700,000 in excess funds, if, no one on the work force faces a major end of the fiscal year illness or has a serious accident.

Runyon told the committee the projection could abruptly sour that’s why he’s only comfortable with moving $200,000 of the possible insurance savings into the subsidy column for the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

However, council finance chair Steve Williams has asked that Runyon “step up collections” in hopes of adding to the soft revenue side.

The BSSA subsidy is contained in the final item on Monday night’s council agenda.

Aside from Local Economic Development Assistance (LEDA) grants for which the city serves as fiscal agent, council will vote on only two other matters --- abandonment of Blair Road North and abandonment of an alley on Eighth Avenue.

Two significant matters will be headed in council’s direction, though --- a TIF project revision for Kinetic Park and the next phase of the Old Main Corridor.

Tom Bell, executive director Huntington Municipal Development Authority, explained that a future tenant had asked for “infrastructure support” where they are building. Amazon.com wants “broadband redundancy” and a backup power supply. They have also asked that street lights be extended onto the top portion of the site.

Due to these changes , Bell said that HMDA would be holding a public hearing on the proposals prior to formal adoption. Since “slides or other issues might have to be repaired” in the future, the TIF project will be revised to contain the word infrastructure.

OLD MAIN CORRIDOR

Construction of decorative and textured sidewalks, ornamental streetlights and landscaping from 13th to 14th Street and Fourth Avenue that mirrors the look between 14th and Hal Greer Blvd. will have a first reading before council.

Hager Construction is the low bidder at $296,861 which will come from a Transportation Enhancement Grant.

Council members have expressed concern that Hager took five months longer than expected on the first phase, which was between 8th and Tenth Streets. However, Charles Holley, director of development and planning, explained that bad weather and unforeseen obstacles, such as an underground cavity near the Keith Albee and underground rooms, required sidewalk redesign.

Hagar has completed other large projects without delays. Still, the contract will contain a 150 calendar day completion clause.

C.J. Hughes bid $314,441 for the third phase. They completed the two blocks between 14th Street and Hal Greer.

Holley also told the finance committee that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has asked that “contractors look at curb cuts [for wheelchair ramps]” in a manner that “keeps pace with paving.”

 

 

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