Huntington Residents Speak Out About Proposed Storm Water Fee

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The public had a chance Wednesday night to voice their concerns about a proposed storm water maintenance fee in Huntington.

Of the 13 citizens who spoke in front of the Storm Water Committee at City Hall, 11 were opposed to the fee, which is part of a five-year plan.

"Politicians always want to get into my billfold, and that's not a good thing for me," Richard Raines said.

"This is not a good way to attract businesses,” Scott Roberts said. “This doesn't help in any way."

The fee would be used to begin cleaning streets and drains to alleviate the repeated flooded streets and backed up basements.

"All I'm suggesting is now is the time for us to get started,” Mayor Steve Williams said to the committee, “certainly not wait another year or look at the enormity of it and say we can't do it."

If the fee is passed, property owners would be assessed anywhere from $4 to $100 each month based on the square footage of their homes or businesses.

Williams says most residents would pay between $4 and $7 per month.

Jack Mease was one of the two Huntington residents who spoke at the meeting in support of the fee.

"If I was a person wanting to locate a business here and got stuck in that (flooding), I'd seriously think about whether I want to come here or not," Mease said.

Councilman Rick Simmons says he’s not sure yet how he'll vote.

"It needs addressed and something needs done,” Simmons said. “However, I’m not sure that this is the right way because it's coming off the backs of the homeowners."

On Wednesday night, the committee voted 2-to-2 on whether to recommend city council to pass the ordinance.

Both the fire and police chiefs spoke in favor of the fee, saying city flooding makes it harder for their departments to respond to emergencies.

Council will vote on the ordinance Monday night to determine whether the fee goes into effect.

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