Belmont Slippage Dilemma Baffles Council Committee

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Belmont Slippage Dilemma Baffles Council Committee
HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – An elderly woman’s house is blocked and the City of Huntington is attempting to do the right thing. In the process, legal interpretations of purchasing this house potentially sets a precedent. Neither council nor the city want a line of residents with slide damage lining up at City Hall asking the city write them a check.

Public Works Director James Hagley has explained to the council public works committee that the appraisal for the blocked home (approximately $59,000) is less than the cost of repairing the road which have gathered estimates of #220,000 to $310,000. Furthermore, a bidding process would be necessary. Not counting the “fix” of six to eight weeks, there’s the period for bidding.

Meanwhile, the city pays about $1,000 a week to house the woman in a motel in Barboursville.

Considering the time frame, council members have tossed out possible interim solutions --- such as a suggestion from Steve Williams that a combination of city churches take on part of the motel bill as a ministry. Another thought: Pay a family member a per diem to let the elderly lady stay with them until the slide is fixed.

Roger Lawhorn, son of the displaced woman, angrily told council, “ I don’t understand why we need to look for other help. It was the city’s fault. There should have been a culvert put across Belmont and Geiger Street. If taken care of the way it should have been, [this] would not have happened.”

Councilwoman Frances Jackson inquired whether any of the other fourteen or so slips were the same as this one on Belmont.”Are there any more that pose the same problem,” she asked?

Hagley responded ‘no,’ but understands the hesitancy to purchase the woman’s home.

Steve Williams then inquired to city attorney Scott McClure about more inexpensive accommodations. McClure admitted no “comparative shopping” had been done. McClure continued to punctuate the circumstance as “dire” since the woman can not access her vehicle. “It’s trapped on the street,” the city attorney explained.

As the brainstorming continued, Ritter determined that all the ideas should be shared with the full council before coming to a decision. In the meantime, the city attorney, would explore options that would reduce the $1,000 a week motel bill.

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