Huntington allocates user fee money for police, roads

 

Huntington’s updated user fee is expected to add $2.2 million to the city budget this year and $3 million in the following years.

The money will go to street upkeep and the hiring of more police officers.

The city’s fall paving program, which allocated some funding from the user fee, has come to a close following several repairs.

Areas likely to have hill slides or areas that have already experienced slides will also see improvements as a result of the user fee, as well as certain bridges.

The 8th Street Bridge near Ritter Park is an example of a structure likely to be repaired next year.

The hillside and bridge update plan is part of Huntington’s capital improvement project, which cost the city about $1 million.

Bryan Chambers, director of communications for the mayor’s office, said before any money is moved, it must be approved by city council.

“We want to provide transparency to the public,” Chambers said.

Chambers said the community was told up front what the money was to be used for and said that transparency is what the city is aiming for.

City council members will talk to their constituents in their respective districts to find out which roads they feel need the most improvements. Traffic will also be considered before a decision is made.

The city user fee was somewhat controversial when it was first introduced to the community and some citizens were unhappy with the decision.

“Once they start seeing progress, they will see the value of it,” Chambers said. “We have to have additional income to provide infrastructure and hire additional officers.”

The city is hoping the investments can attract more businesses to the area, provide more jobs and a better environment for the people who live here.

The updated infrastructure is part of Mayor Steve Williams’ revitalization of Huntington.

John Cole Glover can be contacted at [email protected]