At City Council Monday night, Mayor Williams announced that the City will offer an amnesty from May 1 to June 28, 2024. Property owners with no waivers in the past 10 years can have their fire and municipal penalties waived during the forgiveness period, but the principal amount must be paid in full.

Council approved changes to the downtown hospitality program, PODA.
A resolution to amend Huntington’s Private Outdoor Designated Area ordinance, which allows the transport of beverages in to-go cups on sidewalks between licensed establishments, was approved. The bill extending the PODA from only on weekends to seven days a week passed by a vote of 9-1 — with District Two Council Member Todd Sweeney voting “No.”

City attorney Scott Damron advocated for certain city ordinances to be repealed when they are redundant to West Virginia State Code. Under the changes, the City will no longer be charged for the first five days of incarceration in the regional jail, saving “$4500 to $5000 a month.” Tia Rumbaugh clarified that penalties will not be increased, and Damron said that “great care was being taken” in isolating city code ordinances recommended to be stricken. Council Member Tia Rumbaugh also pointed out that Huntington was the first West Virginia city to begin the cost saving program. Damron stated that City police rarely charge offenders under City ordinances when State laws exist, and that council member Holly Mount and others were taking an active role in isolating the redundant city laws for excision.

City planner Cathy Burns explained a $68,000 grant to build a home at 4718 Piedmont Road in Westmoreland in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity; and the funding passed.

Burns also presented a proposal for a Downtown streetscape and parking
plan to be drawn up by urban consultant GAI for $1,948,000, although she noted that KYOVA would pay 80% and the City only 20%, and the comprehensive downtown streetscape consultant spending passed.

Council unanimously approved a Gallagher village streetscape plan. The mayor is authorized to fund a survey map of Norway Ave from Spring Hill cemetery to Woodmere cemetery through Gallaher Village with The Chapman Company for $50,000.

Also unanimously, Council confirmed Chris Mcguffin to TTA board with a full recommendation.

The mayor was authorized to contract for a hybrid SUV for the Huntington Planning Department, and will purchase a new 2024 Mitsubishi for approximately $44,000 from a dealer in Princeton WV.

Bishop Charles Shaw, a candidate for Cabell County Board of Education spoke in the “good and welfare” public comment time.

Shaw serves on “ten boards” and is a former City Council member who also served on the planning commission. He wants to see every student educated, every professional compensated, and County parks and libraries valued. He expressed no opinion on the upcoming levy ballot.

Councilman Patrick Jones thanked Josh Keck and others for their work at Bethel Cemetery, praising the landscaping and gravestone renovation project near Norway Avenue.

Tia Rumbaugh thanked the activists from Gallagher Village, especially Kim Williamson, for participating in the council meeting. Rumbaugh publicly and pointedly accused the Cabell BOE of certifying inaccurate minutes of their meetings. Rumbaugh said “we should hold public officials accountable” and she specifically urged people to vote “No” on the excess levy proposed by the Cabell Board of Education.

Bob Bailey recognized the organizers of the Carter Woodson “freedom banquet” Saturday at Marshall — and he urged traffic calming measures on Eighth Avenue and 17th Street near the business incubator and culinary school.

Ally Layman also recognized the Carter G Woodson “freedom banquet” at Marshall last weekend in her remarks.

Holly Mount congratulated the Gallagher Village activists in attendance in her good and welfare remarks.

Council Chair Sarah Wallings recognized OVP and the Habitat for Humanity housing volunteers’ efforts at the Restore, and, she announced a series of local Southside Community yard sales this coming Saturday.

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