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“City Beat” Newsletter: February 2014

Free income tax preparation offered to Huntington residents

United Way of the River Cities’ Financial Stability Partnership initiative is sponsoring free income tax preparation this year for individuals and families that are eligible.

Under the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, if your total household income is less than $52,000, you may be eligible for free tax preparation and may be eligible for an earned income tax credit of up to $6,143, even if you don’t owe taxes.

IRS-trained and certified volunteer tax preparers can prepare your taxes and determine if you are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits. The following VITA sites are now available in Huntington:

  • Cabell County Public Library, 455 9th St. Open from 3 to 7 p.m. Mondays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, and March 22. No appointment necessary.
  • J.W. Scott Community Center, 1637 8th Ave. Open from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays beginning Jan. 30. Appointment site only. Call 304-617-7202 to schedule.
  • Goodwill Industries, 1005 Virginia Ave. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the following Saturdays – Feb. 1, 8 and 15; March 1, 15, 29; April 12. No appointment necessary.
  • Corbly Hall, Room 246, at Marshall University. Open from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. No appointment necessary.
  • Mountwest Community and Technical College. For dates and times, call 304-710-3409

How to report streetlight outages in the city

Streetlights are a deterrent to crime in residential areas and business districts. That’s why it’s important that when a streetlight burns out, it be fixed promptly.

If you see a streetlight that needs fixed in front of your home or business, the first thing you should do is determine who owns the light -- AEP or the City of Huntington.

Streetlights maintained by AEP have metal tags with numbers on the pole. Streetlights maintained by the City of Huntington are brown and have a rectangular box around the light. These lights are located in the downtown area.

If an AEP streetlight needs to be fixed, you will need the following information before contacting the company:

  • The nearest address to the light.
  • The number listed on the pole
  • What the light is doing.

To report an inoperable AEP light, call the 24-hour AEP Consumer Solutions Center hotline at 800-982-4237 or visit the AEP Appalachian Power website at

If a city-owned light needs to be fixed, call Steve Riggs, traffic engineering superintendent, at 304-696-5971 or email

How to dispose of unwanted or unused medication

The Huntington Police Department, in collaboration with Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership, has installed a permanent drug take back program drop box in the front lobby of HPD headquarters, 675 10th St. Available to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, the box is designed for safe, secure and anonymous disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

ACCEPTED ITEMS: Prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, narcotics, veterinary medications, herbal supplements, loose medication in sealed bags, liquid medication in sealed containers

ITEMS NOT ACCEPTED: IV bags, personal care products, empty containers, syringes/needles, thermometers and other mercury items, hydrogen peroxide, inhalers, illegal drugs

Streets Division uses cold patches to fix potholes

As winter gets its last wind each February, a slew of potholes are often left behind to wreak havoc on commuters and their cars.

This poses problems as potholes are difficult to fill during cold weather. In fact, Huntington’s Streets Division cannot patch streets if the temperature is lower than 25 degrees.

As the weather permits, the Streets Division goes through areas of the city and patches potholes. Assistant Public Works director Jim Insco said it is hard to catch up on filling potholes if the division gets behind.

Sub-freezing temperatures escalate the formation of potholes. Water passes through surface cracks and freezes, expands and further weakens the pavement. That is why potholes suddenly appear after a winter storm.

During winter, the Streets Division uses a cold mix asphalt to patch potholes. Once the pothole is identified, the hole is filled, tamped down and smoothed. Once the process is complete, the patch is set and the Streets Division moves on to the next pothole.

Cold patches can last weeks or several months, depending on traffic and weather. The patch will not last long if there is steady rain or snow and if the area contains a high volume of traffic.

To report a pothole, call the Streets Division at 304-696-4483 or the Mayor’s Office at 304-696-5540.

Huntington chosen to receive smart growth technical assistance

Smart Growth America has selected the City of Huntington as one of 18 communities nationwide to receive the organization’s 2014 free smart growth technical assistance program.

Huntington will receive a one or two-day training session with an expert from Smart Growth America on planning for economic and fiscal health.

The city applied for this technical assistance to assist in developing a strategy using smart growth principles to implement Plan2025, to reduce negative outcomes from a combined stormwater and sanitary system and to encourage quality housing and business development in the city.

Smart Growth America received nearly 100 applications for technical assistance from 40 states. While all of the applications were worthy, the 18 communities selected to receive technical assistance exhibited the strongest interest in and need for smart growth tools and clearly demonstrated a commitment from local business, community and political leaders to implement local smart growth solutions.

The training session will be scheduled in the near future, and a component designed for the public will be included. For more information, go to

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