PARKERSBURG - The mayor today will make his first push for city council to consider eliminating the floodwall fee.
Council will hold its first regular meeting since last week's Committee of the Whole sessions to review Mayor Bob Newell's proposed 2012-2013 budget that takes effect July 1. While not changing the revenue projections in the $25.472 million budget, councilmen added a 20-cent-an-hour pay raise financed by the floodwall fees Newell wants abolished, among other changes made to the proposed spending plan including nixing a $50,000 allocation to the Humane Society for a spay and neuter clinic.
The financing of the stormwater management efforts is covered under the $2.50 weekly user fee and those who pay the floodwall fee are paying twice, the floodwall and user fees, Newell said. For that reason, the floodwall fee, which raises from $120,000 to $130,000 a year, should be eliminated, he said.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
The pump station at First Avenue will be renovated in a $7 million bond issue for the Parkersburg Utility Board. Also planned are upgrades to the Agnes Street station and a new forced main from the station to East and Depot streets.
"There's no reason not to do it," Newell said.
Council meets at 7:30 p.m. today in chambers.
No action will be taken on the budget, other than the perfunctory receiving and filing of the report from the Committee of the Whole, Council President Tom Joyce said. Final action will be taken in the next month following a public hearing for comments.
The mayor said he hasn't decided what action he would take upon the budget's approval, but said much of what he has requested was approved by the committee, including additional funds for demolitions and roads.
Councilmen Nancy Wilcox and Sharon Lynch last week said there was never discussion or action taken to eliminate the fee, but Councilmen John Rockhold and Joyce pointed out council has taken such actions with in the budget prior to acting on the corresponding legislation. The sanitation fee increase two years ago was in the budget before the legislation changing the fee was approved, Joyce said.
Also on the agenda is legislation issuing up to $7 million in bonds for projects for the internal renovation of the First Avenue pumping station, a new forced main from the Agnes Street station and the upgrade of the station, part of the city's storm water overflow efforts, said Eric Bennett, manager of the Parkersburg Utility Board.
Project cost is $7.73 million with about $540,000 anticipated from a loan from a state fund, he said. No rate increases are planned, Bennett said.
Construction would begin in several months, he said.
Council's Finance Committee will meet at 7 p.m. in the small conference room. On the agenda is a budget revision of $297,769 to cover insufficient funding for gasoline, utilities and laundry expenses from Business and Occupation Taxes. Another revision would move $250,000 into paving projects for the current fiscal year from B&O taxes.
The utility bill for street lights alone jumped $40,000 over the last year. The estimates, made a year ago, are impacted by fluctuations in costs, Joyce said.
"You see what gasoline does," he said.