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City post for safety, wellness is proposed

September 6, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Huntington City Council Finance Committee members on Tuesday learned the city has exceeded its projected revenue collection so far this year and recommended creating a new position overseeing safety and wellness.

City Finance Director Kathy Moore presented members with a fiscal year 2018-19 budget update, saying the city has taken in $3,314,356 in revenue since the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1.

She recommended amending the budget to reflect the increase and to create a safety and wellness coordinator position inside the city’s Human Resources Department.

The coordinator position was one of the recommendations made by a committee formed by Mayor Steve Williams to examine the city’s transition to Highmark insurance in April 2017. Moore recommended putting aside $50,941 annually for the position.

The person would work closely with the insurance company and work toward creating smoking cessation and drug addiction prevention programs. This position would divert questions about employees’ health insurance away from the city’s sole human resources director, she said. The director currently handles the city’s more than 300 employees, plus its hundreds of retirees.

Moore also recommended increasing the parks and recreation budget by $51,305 to fund new ease-of-access efforts for the handicapped being led by City Council.

Meanwhile, committee members learned the police and firefighter pension fund balances are up more than 11 percent. The Firefighter Pension Fund started with $20,014,042 in fiscal year 2018 and ended with 25,135,985. The Police Pension Fund started with $30,682,768 but ended with $35,844,988, an approximate $5 million increase for both funds.

Committee members recommended moving the budget revisions over to City Council, which will have the final say. Members will hold a meeting with department heads at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, to answer any questions ahead of the council’s Sept. 10 regular meeting.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Call 304-526-2801.