Promises Made Promises Kept

When Steve Williams was first elected Mayor our city was in trouble. Crime and drugs were on the rise, streets weren’t being paved or even cleaned, businesses were closing down and people were losing hope.

On his first day in office, Mayor Williams pledged to devote all his energies to making Huntington a place that we would set standards that the nation would seek to follow. Now Steve is running for Mayor again to finish the job he started – to make sure Huntington is a place we’re always proud to call home.

Huntington has gone from being ground zero for the opioid crisis to be a model for communities around the country. Williams created the first-ever Office of Drug Control Policy within the mayor’s office and worked with state and federal officials, including the White Houses’ Office of Drug Control Policy, to put a comprehensive plan in place that is producing real results. Drug crimes are down 51% since their peak and Williams has been recognized by Georgetown, Stanford, New York, and Indiana University as well as the US Conference of Mayor’s and the National League of Cities as a leader in the opioid addiction battle.

Huntington police officers are among the finest in the world, but in the eight years preceding his election they had gone without a single pay raise. Under Mayor Williams, police officer salaries have grown by almost 24%, staffing levels are up, police pensions are once again fully funded, and morale has improved. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Huntington’s law enforcement officers crime is falling. Since 2016 burglary is down 40%, larceny 45%, robbery 36%, and violent crimes like rape and murder are at their lowest levels in years.

In 2012 there were more than 400 properties on the city’s unsafe building list. Such structures attract crime, diminish property values, and present a safety hazard to police, firefighters, and first responders. At one time Huntington was averaging over one abandoned structure fire a day. Mayor Williams created an aggressive program to eradicate the eyesores called project B.A.N.E (Blight and Nuisance Elimination). Thanks to the success of that program just under 100 properties remain on the unsafe building list.

When Mayor Williams first came into office the city of Huntington was only spending $250,000 per year on road paving. Under Mayor Williams, Huntington now averages more than $2.6 million in paving per year including many streets paved for the first time or for the first time in 40 years. Decades of neglect can’t be erased overnight but progress is finally being made. In addition, Mayor Williams established the first street cleaning program in 20 years that is responsible for removing more than 13.7 million pounds of garbage and debris from our streets. Neighborhood cleanups and alley sweeps have added an additional 33,359,000 pounds of trash to that total.

Sewer lines on 3rd and 5th Avenues are undergoing their first cleaning in more than 60 years to help address chronic flooding and stormwater lines are being connected to the stormwater system to address regular flooding issues in the underpasses on 8th and 10th avenues. In addition, for the first time since the 1940’s all the flood wall gates have been tested and certified as operational.

In an effort to attract businesses and create jobs Mayor Williams has eliminated the B&O tax on manufacturing within the city limits. In recognition of the challenges created to downtown businesses caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Williams has suspended the B&O tax and refuse fees on restaurants and retail establishments. Likewise, in an effort to attract new construction to the city, Mayor Williams has eliminated the B&O tax on the first $200,000 in spent on home building or rehabilitation.

Williams said the former ACF site needed to be acquired for redevelopment.

When first elected Mayor Williams pledged to acquire the former ACF site for redevelopment. Earlier this year he made good on that promise and now a new baseball stadium is being constructed there that will, among other things, host Marshall University’s home games.

Endorsements

Herald-Dispatch
Greater Huntington Chamber of Commerce
Steelworkers Local 40
Southwestern District Labor Council