Mayor Steve Williams Depicts Exceptional Visions

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Mayor Steve Williams Depicts Exceptional Visions
Photo by Glen Berry

Pumped up with enthusiasm. That's how Huntington City Council Chairman, Mark Bates,  summarized  his preliminary reaction to the Friday afternoon State of the City speech by Mayor Steve Williams.

Bates emphasized that Williams stressed things council members "preached" the last four years.

The projected budget adds nearly $2 million dollars in revenue without increasing fees or taxes.

"We're going to do things differently. Get back to the basics. Collect that which owed. And, expect more from employees," the Mayor said.

Calling the city the "most efficiently run in the country" where "we get more with less," Williams expanded the competitive vision beyond state and regional, emphasizing that the possibility for high  speed broadband wireless internet opens corporate world stage possibilities.

Mayor Steve Williams Depicts Exceptional Visions
Photo by Glen Berry

His pathway to exceptional consists of community gardens and art on the Paul Ambrose Trail,  running out of state thugs and hoodlums away from the West Ninth Street segment of the West End (and the rest of the city) , and treating taxpayers like "customers" through excellent "service" and a simplified one-stop shop for new and existing business through the introduction of a business concierge service to assist business with the bureaucratic maze. Working through the Finance Department , former city councilman Jimbo Insco will step into the position.

He adds  positions by reinstating  the assistant city attorney for collection efforts, the assist public works director concentrating on floodwall maintenance and environmental mandates, and restoration of the fire prevention department, and an Administrative Assistant along with a Communications Director for the Mayor's office.

Speaking with his hands and punctuating his determination, Williams vibrancy had the charisma of a coach's half time heart to heart.

While announcing the Mayor's  Council for the Arts , Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, and a Council on Physical Fitness, "Mayor Steve"  forecast a "Hollerwood" film making community, a precipice known as a digital city, and replacing the Mayor's Open House with a neighborhood walk through to both speak with residents and observe firsthand the issues.

Mayor Steve Williams Depicts Exceptional Visions
Photo by Glen Berry

Finally, he takes personally reports of the city as the "blunt end of jokes" including environmental compliance and the unhealthiest ranking. Noting that the city has   world class medical care, he affirmed to get  residents --- including himself --- out and exercising.

Having labeled this an "enterprise" or entrepreneurial styled budget, which has the capability of immediate tweaking if necessary, the Mayor urges council and residents to "avoid butterflies" of worry and "commit" to the new direction.

Following the speech which was interrupted numerous times by applause, councilman Gary Bunn told HNN that "the Mayor has laid out an energetic plan and we look forward to working with him through the budget process. Hopefully, we can send it on to the state and implement."

At large council member Rebecca Thacker stressed "we can make the city a better place by working together."

Newly elected at large councilman David Ball said, "I like what he is saying. I'm excited. It's going to be a work of art."

Bates admitted that he nor any other council member had seen the budget plan in advance of the presentation.

He added, "There may be questions that turn up during the budgeting process. We will deal with those at that time."

Speaking briefly to HNN concerning the initial reaction of council members, Mayor Williams anticipates that the expectations and hopefulness will have a up and downward stretches like the stock market.

"Through constant activity you start to have success. You never see a stock market graph going constantly up. There's a little lull, then, surges, which go beyond the lulls."

The text of the speech can be downloaded in PDF.

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