City Council approves budget for next fiscal year

Huntington’s City Council approved the budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 and passed a resolution forgiving all liens against the Douglas Center and Ebenezer Medical Outreach Monday during its biweekly meeting.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said the new budget includes the addition of two new field auditors in the finance department. Williams said the city will increase revenue by $650,000, which will ensure $1 million in place for street construction.

The budget passed 5-4 with no amendments suggested and will go into effect July 1.

The resolution concerning Ebenezer Medical Outreach allows the free clinic currently residing in the Douglas Centre to continue to operate with a lower lease under new building management.

Deron Runyon, president of Ebenezer Medical Outreach, said the resolution allows Marshall University to purchase the building.

“Marshall Health, the non-profit arm affiliated with the medical school, would run the building itself,” Runyon said. “It would allow Ebenezer Medical Outreach to continue its lease at the building and actually to downsize it to a single location in the bottom of the clinic area.”

Runyon said this would free up approximately $133,000 per year.

Vice Chairwoman Sandra Clements said the resolution is a win-win for both parties.

“We will be able to maintain the historical structure there that is Douglas High School,” Clements said. “And we will be able to maintain the services that people have come to depend on and rely on for good health, and we will be able to get out from under that loan debt.”

Williams commented on last week’s unrelated murders of Joshua Martin, 21, and Rudy Magana, 28, after the council had adjourned.

“The two events are separate from one another, and they’re tragic,” Williams said.  “Our hearts break for the families, and I pity the poor fools when we find who conducted the second murder. I have the ultimate faith in the Huntington Police Department.”

Martin, a Marshall student, was shot multiple times Wednesday on Donald Avenue following an encounter with 37-year-old Micah LeMaster.

Magana was shot Thursday while walking from his vehicle to his home on Holderby Road.

Bryan Chambers, communications director for the city of Huntington, said community members near the second shooting’s location are asked to assist in the search for the perpetrator.

“The Huntington Police Department is sending out a request to all residents of Holderby Road who have home security video surveillance to contact their violent crimes unit to see if there is any surveillance that could be helpful to the investigation,” Chambers said.

Callers may provide tips at 304-696-4420 or anonymously at 304-696-4444.

Lexi Browning can be contacted at [email protected]