Council Approves Vehicle Purchases, Hears Request from Animal Shelter for $30,000

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Council Approves Vehicle Purchases, Hears Request from Animal Shelter for $30,000

Huntington City Council has unanimously approved lease/purchase agreements for six new police vehicles and two crew cab trucks for use by the Department of Public Works. A seventh police vehicle totaling $25,518 will be purchased with insurance proceeds from department funds.

In addition, the Huntington Police Department will acquire 24 rugged computer terminals for about $50,376. A grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program picks up the cost.

Council heard a request from John Brumley on behalf of the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter. He asked the city to contribute $30,000 before winter.

“We ask the city to reach into its pocket and hearts,” Brumley explained, stating the funds would be used in part to enclose an outside area.

Although councilman Jim Insco advanced a constituent concern that “you go to adopt purebred animals and they disappear,” Brumley acknowledged that such incidents occur. He attributed them to the shelter’s low budget ($340,000 a year), which , according to the Humane Society of the United States, is about one-third of the necessity for a shelter serving the region’s population.

Council chairman Mark Bates indicated that he would request that council finance director (and mayor elect) Steve Williams “convene a finance committee meeting.”  Although the city placed nothing in the fiscal year budget for the shelter, council approved a $30,000 appropriation, which was rendered in increments of $10,000.

Insco encouraged Brumley to appeal to additional municipalities in the two counties, noting that Huntington residents “pay twice” by virtue of their living in Cabell County and the city.

Acknowledging that issue and another regarding dropping liters within the city limits,  Brumley asked, “We should not hold cats and dogs accountable for what people do.”

During council’s work session, Bates inquired about a possible ordinance by council that would withhold pay for council members and/or the mayor.

“Could we withhold their pay to collect [delinquent city service] fees?”

Indicating her support, at large councilwoman Rebecca Thacker admonished , “We are supposed to lead by example.”

During the work session, Bates expressed a willingness to shift the December 24 meeting, which is now slated for Christmas Eve.  “I’d like to figure a way to move it to Wednesday,” Bates said.

City attorney Scott McClure has been asked to look for precedents which would conform with the City Charter. Mayor Kim Wolfe said City Hall “may” close early that day, to  which councilman Nate Randolph suggested a time earlier than 7:30 p.m.

Depending upon the research, Bates did indicate that “a lack of a quorum” that evening would force a postponement until Wednesday.


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