Newell: No change on floodwall fee

PARKERSBURG – Mayor Bob Newell says there is little chance he’ll ask council to reconsider a proposed reduction in the city floodwall fee.

Council will hear an initial presentation on the city’s proposed budget on Tuesday, with several days of budget hearings to be scheduled afterward.

But reducing the floodwall fee will not be part of the budget presentation, Newell said.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Newell said. “I tried that fight last year and got no traction.”

Last year Newell argued the floodwall fee should be eliminated due to the implementation of the city user fee. Council members disagreed and left the fee in the proposed 2012-13 budget.

Newell vetoed that budget, but council voted 7-2 to overturn the veto. A ordinance proposed later to remove the floodwall fee was sent to committee without discussion.

Council President Jim Reed, among council members who opposed Newell’s veto last year, said his opinion has not changed.

“I would oppose the reduction or elimination of the floodwall fee,” Reed said Thursday. “Those people live in the flood plain area, and there is a cost or risk for living in that area.”

Reed said maintenance of the floodwall helps keep those areas liveable and keeps residents from having to pay higher insurance costs.

“If you don’t have a floodwall, then they have to purchase flood insurance, which would likely cost them more” than the city fee, he said. The fee “still serves a purpose.”

Either way, Newell said it is a subject he is unlikely to bring before council.

“There was very little interest, so I didn’t even think about it this year,” he said.