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“City Beat” Newsletter: April 2014

Huntington in Bloom campaign to spruce up city

It’s almost that beautiful time of the year again in Huntington. Tree-lined streets will be full and green, lawns will be lush and well-kept yards will be blooming with vivid colors.

To capitalize on this, the Huntington in Bloom beautification effort is gearing up for another year of planting flowers, citywide cleanup days and bringing together dedicated volunteers.

The 2013 campaign was successful. More than 170 hanging flower baskets and 90 large pots were placed throughout the downtown. The Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Harris Riverfront Park, City Hall, the War Memorial on Veterans Boulevard and several municipal parking lots also got special attention with colorful plantings.

In Huntington’s first year in the national America in Bloom competition, the city received a rating of four out of five blooms and won first place for a YouTube video that showcased all of our beautification efforts.

For 2014, Huntington in Bloom has selected red, yellow and purple as its color scheme. Homeowners and business owners are encouraged to adopt these colors in the plantings around their homes and storefronts.

Huntington in Bloom also has arranged for two citywide cleanup days this spring. The first “Make it Shine” cleanup will be April 12. The second will be May 3. More information will be forthcoming.

Residents, business owners and places of worship also will be happy to know that Huntington in Bloom is bringing back the Facebook photo competition this year. Beginning in late April, nominations will be accepted on the Huntington in Bloom Facebook page for the best blooming tree, followed by best blooming street, place of worship, yard, business and public space. Winners will be announced on Facebook.

For more information about the photo competition, cleanup events, recommendations on flowers to plant and much more, visit the Huntington in Bloom Facebook page or go to www.huntingtoninbloom.org. You also can call the Huntington Municipal Development Authority at 304-696-5509 or email hmda@cityofhuntington.com.

B&O tax categorizes among lowest in state

In January 2012, the City of Huntington implemented a 1 percent local sales tax. Additionally, city residents may not realize that the city eliminated or reduced three key categories of business taxes in an effort to create a fairer tax structure.

The Business and Occupation tax was eliminated for manufacturers and cut in half for retailers and service-based businesses. Altogether, the business tax cuts amounted to $4.5 million annually.

Since the cuts were implemented, the city’s budgeted revenue has grown 12.5 percent to $45 million.

B&O Tax Cuts

City Manufacturing rate Retail rate Service-based rate
Huntington 0% 0.25% 0.50%
Charleston 0.30% 0.50% 1%
Parkersburg 0.20% 0.40% 0.90%
Morgantown 0.30% 0.50% 0.55%
Wheeling 0.30% 0.39% 0.93%

City, Marshall build solid relationship

Mayor Steve Williams and the Marshall University community have made strides during the past year to strengthen their relationship. Working together, the city and Marshall have achieved this goal and have established an open line of communication.

“The idea is to let all stakeholders at Marshall know that I am their mayor and that I am always approachable,” Williams said. “City Hall isn’t just a building at the corner of 5th Avenue and 8th Street. I want there to be a consistent presence of city government on campus.”

The Coffee with the Mayor series at the Marshall Memorial Student Center was created in conjunction with Marshall’s Student Government Association. The monthly event gives students an opportunity to voice their concerns and to speak with the mayor about city-related issues affecting Marshall’s campus.

Through these open forums, Mayor Williams and the city have been able to tackle many problems facing Marshall students.

The city addressed safety concerns by partnering with Marshall and Appalachian Power in February to add more streetlights and improve existing ones near campus. Street lighting has been improved on 5th Avenue (14th to 20th streets), 3rd Avenue (Hal Greer Boulevard to 20th Street), Hal Greer Boulevard (3rd to 5th avenues), and 14th and 15th streets (3rd to 6th avenues).

But the relationship goes both ways. On Sunday, March 9, members of Marshall’s Delta Iota chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity washed fire trucks at the University Station No. 2 on 20th Street.
The collaboration between the city and the Marshall community to improve the students’ quality of life has produced promising results. The city plans to focus on this relationship as it moves forward.

Solid Waste Authority to host e-recycle drive in May

If you need to get rid of an old television, computer or broken electronics that have collected dust for years, e-recycling is an easy and eco-friendly way to dispose of that clutter.

The Cabell County Solid Waste Authority will host an e-recycling drive from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3, in the parking lot of Kroger at 2627 5th Ave., Huntington.

Any device — no matter how large or small — that can be plugged into an electrical outlet will be accepted. The event is funded with a grant from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

The Solid Waste Authority also maintains eight drop-off recycling locations across Cabell County.

For more information about the locations, visit the Solid Waste Authority’s website at www.ccswa.us.

Bike license program offers security, vintage plates

The City of Huntington offers a voluntary bicycle license program that can provide vital information to help you recover your bike if it’s ever stolen?

The program, which was adopted in the 1970s in accordance with city code, has seen a resurgence in recent years.

Bike licenses cost only $1, and owners are asked to provide their bike’s serial number, size, make, model, color and speed. Owners will receive a vintage license plate and a registration card. The information is kept securely at City Hall and will not be distributed to anyone other than the owner.

To get a bicycle license, visit Room 20 at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, call (304) 696-5969 or look for bike license sales at bike-related events this spring. Visa, MasterCard and cash are accepted forms of payment.

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