HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Mayor Steve Williams will leave the office he’s held since 2012 this year with high hopes for it’s future.
In his final State of the City address, Williams touted the city’s accomplishments over the past 12 years, while also looking ahead to what he believes is a long-term and promising forecast for Huntington.
“Our city has become known as a city of solutions,” Williams said. “These decisions came from the kitchen tables and our neighborhoods.”
Mayor Williams was first elected in 2012 and then re-elected in 2016 and 2020. He’s the first three-term mayor in the city’s history. Williams also officially filed as a democratic candidate for governor earlier this year.
Looking ahead only a few years was not enough for him. Mayor Williams said he wanted to be a leader with a 50-year vision for the City of Huntington. He said even an unexpected crisis or major challenges would not thwart a 50-year plan for the city.
“I am left with very high expectations of where our city is headed in the coming years and decades,” said Williams.
Huntington has seen over one half of a billion dollars in investments from federal, state and private sources. He calls the city of Huntington a place for doers and builders.
“We have renovated nearly every building owned and operated by the City of Huntington,” he said.
Renovations include ones made multiple fire stations including the Mayor Joseph L. Williams Jr Fire Station. A second fire station is in the works to be designed for Westmoreland with the construction expected to start later this year. More improvements are scheduled for Centennial Station and Station 10.
More than $30 million has been invested into city government buildings including Police, Fire, Finance, Public Works, Planning and Development, Civic Arena, City Council and the Administration. The Jean Dean Public Safety Building has seen renovations made to it’s top two floors. Even City Hall has seen some work done.
A complete renovation has been made on the inside and outside of the Marshall Health Network Arena. Williams calls the arena much more than just an entertainment venue.
In order to get to these sites, roads must be in good shape. Since 2013, the first full year Williams was in office, the city has budgeted $20,388,054 for the paving of 80.4 miles of roads. Williams said the city is budgeting more money for one year worth of paving than eight years prior.
“The condition of the roads in a community can leave a lasting impression,” said Williams.
According to the mayor, crime in Huntington has gone down.
“In fact, violent crime and property crime are lower today than they were reported in the 1980s,” Williams said.
From 2016 to 2023, violent and property crime has dropped 29.1%. Burglaries reduced 72.7%, larcenies reduced 37.4%, and robberies reduced 65.5%.
Mayor Williams applauded the work of city police during his speech Monday night from City Hall.
The budget for fiscal year 2025 is similar to the past four to six years, according to Williams. He said he’s happy with how city agencies are being funded for next year including pensions for police and fire departments. The firefighters’ pension system saw a $25.3 million increase from 2013 to 2023. The beginning balance in the 2013 police pension system was $22.4 million. On June 30, 2023, it was $46.6 million – a total return of 108.3%.
“There are no surprises here,” he said. “Our Police, Fire, and Public Works departments are all funded again at record-high amounts.
The rest of Williams’ speech can be found here: 2024 Mayor’s Budget Message
“All of these efforts, great and small, have created the most dynamic and electric downtown in a 100-mile radius.”