Answering questions Wednesday Mayor Steve Williams announced that the budget for the fiscal year of 2017 would be $2 million less than the previous year fiscal budget.
Williams previewed his State of the City address for Marshall Journalism reporters. Williams said, “Everyone is getting cut across the board.” In regards to the deficit he also said, “Some of it is a reduction in revenues on one side, but then there are costs that continue to go up.”
A reason for the $2 million hole for the next fiscal year Williams said “The economy has slowed.” Williams did say that what his administration will not do is raise fees to offset the $2 million. He said, “We are going to be down $2 million off what we have and were counting the user fee.” The mayor said his biggest worry is that some expenses are going through the roof.
Williams reconfirmed that the last thing he would ever consider is layoffs to any departments. He said, “It would be a last resort if we ever find ourselves to layoffs.” He additionally said, “I am not talking about layoffs with any of my department heads right now.”
To start off the State of the City address Williams said “We will talk about the progress we have made, specifically the Huntington innovation project.” The environmental protection agency has given Huntington $600,000 in grants to take care of areas such as the Browns field area across from the football stadium. High speed broadband is a part of the innovation project that the mayor is hoping for businesses to use for international exchanges to better help growth economically in the city.
The mayor cited the $2 user fee hike as a way for the city to generate an additional $3 million. He said, “It will be used for road construction and capital improvements around town.” More funds will be allocated this fiscal year for road construction than last year. Outside of the additional officers and road construction Williams said, “It’s a good possibility I would use it to drive our broadband initiative.” Williams said, “It will cost about $26 million to build a broadband network.”