Mayor Williams gave his annual budget speech Monday night at City Hall and the HNN reporters present observed at least twelve incidents of spontaneous applause from the audience. Here are the twelve “applause lines” from the Mayor’s speech yesterday:

    “We have no desire to be in the internet business … our intention is to deploy 190 miles of fiber to every home and business in the city.”

   “The Huntington Police Department will be the highest paid law enforcement agency in the State.”

   “The Huntington Fire Department is eliminating the ‘compression’ of salary classifications in the rank structure, thereby ensuring our younger firefighters have an incentive to proceed through the ranks.”

   “We have strengthened our health care benefits and saved our public safety pensions, we have brought peace of mind to all fire and police pensioners that their pensions are protected going forward.”

   “Our public works employees and other departmental administrative personnel will be compensated at a minimum of $15 per hour.”

   “Every employee is receiving a raise.”

   “We have seen an exponential growth of individuals who are unsheltered. I am proud of our efforts to support the Facing Hunger Food Bank by donating to date $500,000.”

   “We will and do support sober-living facilities that are credible and are not an easy shakedown opportunity (against) those who are most marginalized in our community. We will stand to protect those seeking treatment and refuse to allow any entity taking advantage of these souls to operate within the boundaries of our city.” 

   “We recognize the danger our firefighters face, we (will) provide the equipment, training and varied apparatuses that enable HPD to safely protect the residents and visitors of our city and their property.”

   “We will continue to equip and compensate our firefighters in a manner that they can safely protect life and property and, just as important, to go home safely at the end of their shift.”

   “The Huntington Storm Water Utility crews completed all the required operations and maintenance requirements outlined in the 1944 agreement with the Corps of Engineers, the first time in 75 years that Huntington has completed all items since taking ownership of the levee and floodwall system in 1944.”

   Mayor Williams even managed to generate spontaneous applause by referring to the recent large — and very contentious — city sewer rate increase: “The Sanitary Board rate increase authorized by council last year has the Water Quality Board meeting with … state and federal agencies to line up funding for the projects set forth in the rate increase request. The 200-plus million dollars in approved projects will be the largest local infrastructure project in the history of West Virginia.”

   Mayor Williams made many effective turns of phrase in the hour-long speech Monday night. “It’s not bragging when you’re telling the truth,” he said early on, while talking about ‘The Huntington Way,’ hard work, realistic expectations, and the city’s “America’s Best Communities” grant award victory.

   Finally, in an analogy about the challenges of leading Huntington, the Mayor related an anecdote about arriving in Chicago in the 1990’s — and being nearly overwhelmed by sixteen northbound interstate lanes of traffic leading into the windy city. 

   “Williams,” he said, “you’ve got to punch it or pull over.”

One thought on “Mayor Williams’s Annual Address: Twelve Applause Lines [part 2]”
  1. A forensic group home is under construction currently in the suburb of Huntington. Why would/ should Huntingtonians tolerate this lack of transparency by DHHR? I have worked two years as an aid on a forensic unit and wholly disagree that it can be a safe “home” anywhere in our fair city or county. These individuals have escaped imprisonment by a declaration of insanity from culpability of their crimes, felony and misdemeanor. They are unpredictable and physically dangerous as they have to be a maintained in a psychiatric hospital….allowing these people to freely mix into our community is akin to asking for a manufactured tragedy. A sad state of affairs for certain!

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