(WSAZ Photo/Amanda Dixon)
UPDATE 2/15/11 @ 6 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Balancing a checkbook is never fun when you have more money going out than coming in.
Huntington Mayor Kim Wolfe knows that feeling on a city level. His latest proposal includes some positives -- and some negatives.
“We're glad to be coming back. I think the city will be thrilled to have City Hall open again on Fridays,” said Teresa Ferguson-Crossan, Municipal Court clerk.
Perhaps the best news out of Wolfe's state of the city address is the current four-day work week, and pay cuts for a third of the city's staff could soon come to an end.
“I really thank those who made the sacrifice and hung in there,” Wolfe said.
But, that good news for the masses translates to bad news for six to eight unlucky employees who could face layoffs to save the necessary funds instead.
“It’s the toughest decision,” Wolfe said.
One of those on the chopping block -- the mayor's constituent services liaison. It's a position Wolfe created shortly after he took office, hiring his longtime friend and former police officer and jail administrator Jim Johnson.
“I think he’s made a real difference. But, I can’t ask others to make a sacrifice without leading by example,” Wolfe said.
One issue that's top of mind at this time of the year -- navigating the pitfalls of potholes. If you have to drive through these, then new paving can't come soon enough.
“There is $600,000 for this year, and the mayor has allocated another $600,000 for next year, as well,” said David Hagley, Huntington Public Works Director.
But, in the end, the City Council has the final say -- taking the good with the bad for the benefit of the city.
City Council President Mark Bates says he's hopeful council can find money somewhere else in the budget to prevent some, if not all, of the proposed layoffs.
Wolfe delivered his State of the City address Monday night prior to the Huntington City Council meeting.
"We must cut more and ask for even more sacrifice from our employees and our citizens," Wolfe said.
He said the city must have an ending fund balance of $1 million by June 30, 2012. That's to maintain a stable financial rating that the city received by Standard and Poor's.
Wolfe said the city has a current fund balance of $560,000, and he projected a $440,000 increase to meet the $1 million goal.
The condition of city streets has been a hot topic among residents, and Wolfe said nearly $600,000 has been set aside for street resurfacing.
Among items council considered Monday evening was Wolfe's veto of council's decision to put spending limits on the mayor. Council ultimately did not challenge the veto.
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