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Huntington's Mayor Will Recommend Transparent Storm Water Solutions
Under the previous council, a plan had been advance to move forward with a separate storm water utility. Council chairman Mark Bates stalled that plan due to the amount of start up monies allocated to bureaucratic rather than shovels moving tasks.
“The new administration has not said where we are going,” stated Mayor Steve Williams on the utility option.
Obviously, the storm water management issue must find a revenue source.
Storm Water Committee Chair, Pete Gillespie, provided a for discussion only proposal that would have added a storm water charge of 0.0165 to the municipal service fee. Estimating a 90% collection rate, the fee would have then raised approximately $860,000.
However, both Mayor Williams and City Attorney Scott McClure “commended” him for making a proposal, but stressed that by statute the MSF can only be utilized for fire and floodwall maintenance.
Williams explained he had not yet analyzed the proposal, but stressed “it is my job” to come up with a range of recommendations to guide council. Explaining that most cities have funded storm water issues from the general fund, a specific storm water fee, or by a utility, he asked to bring a range of recommendations to council to prevent “eleven different plans.”
Temporarily sidestepping specific revenue sources or fee proposals, Williams stressed the value of education and visual transparency to win resident and business approval for whatever proposal.
"The only way we can go to public and suggest an interim [stormwater] fee is to demonstrate projects with immediate benefits. [Some] catch basins and storm drains have not been cleaned in 20 years, we will have to be very visible. “Make sure resources directed to high visibility projects”
Specifically, “We won’t show [full] resolution of 3rd, 5th Avenue (flooding), or viaducts, but “at least part of those will have to be addressed to gain the faith of the public," the Mayor said.