HD Media is running submitted questionnaires from candidates in the 2020 elections.
Read more responses from candidates by clicking on the links at right. Candidates who have not received a questionnaire can send an email to acopley@HDMediaLLC.com with their name, candidacy and phone number.
NAME: Bill Rosenberger
CANDIDATE FOR: Huntington City Council At-Large (At-Large candidates are elected by all Huntington voters)
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in Communications Media and Master's degree in Journalism
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Director of Resource Development for United Way of the River Cities since October 2018
OTHER WORK HISTORY: 3 years as Development Director for Cabell-Huntington Coalition for the Homeless (Harmony House), 2 years as a public relations consultant and 10 years as a journalist in Pittsburgh; Bradenton, Florida; and at The Herald-Dispatch (2007-2013). Also served as District 2 Councilman from 2014-2016 after being appointed to the seat.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: President of the Kiwanis Club of Huntington; past president of Kiwanis Day Care Board of Directors; former member of Create Huntington
FAMILY: Wife, Frances; children, Christian, Grace and Alex
PERSONAL STATEMENT: My top priorities are my Christian faith and my family. And it is those two priorities that motivate me to want to serve the city of Huntington. We love this city and I want my children to continue to see Huntington and the Tri-State as a great place to grow up, get an education and start a career and family. I'm running for City Council because I want to help make Huntington that place for them and for you.
1. What are your suggestions for the long-term financing of Huntington's government?
During the 2017 budget crisis, Mayor Williams and his team took dramatic steps to correct the city’s financial ship. Since then, the city's finances have been strong and well managed. Employees have received raises. Pension plans are up to date. Union contracts have been negotiated. Which is why the city is able to recommend B&O and refuse fee reductions during the coronavirus crisis.
2. What are the most important problems in your district (or city for mayor and at-large council candidates)?
Our downtown is thriving and some neighborhoods are flourishing. But we're a dirty city. Litter is a problem that cannot be addressed by neighborhood groups having spring cleanups. We need a year-round approach, which can be achieved with the addition of a beautification coordinator who can utilize a vast number of people who need community service hours.
3. Should the city bring back a curbside recycling program? If so, should it be funded with a levy vote or by expanding the county's program?
Would curbside recycling really have an impact or just create another expensive service? Recent research shows that a large percent of what we recycle still ends up in a landfill somewhere. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recycle - my family does. I’m comfortable with the recycling program we have now, unless the recycling market expands or re-use technology improves.
4. What more needs to be done to encourage new housing construction in the city?
We need a more aggressive and comprehensive approach that combines demolition and city planning. I applaud the city for the number of dilapidated structures being torn down. But some of our blocks look like checkerboards. I'd like to explore public-private partnerships that would enable the city to raze entire blocks and create opportunities for new housing construction.
5. How would you continue to fight the opioid epidemic? Do you support the harm reduction program?
I really do think we are on the right track. Between harm reduction, recovery options and job training programs, Huntington is and should be looked at as a city of solutions. However, we must also be strategic about the how many residential recovery homes we need and how that impacts neighborhoods.
6. What more could be done to help tear down dilapidated houses?
Donations from private citizens and corporations, Community Development Block Grant funds, and a strategic bidding process resulted in 100 structures torn down last year. The only thing that could improve the process is additional funding. Again, exploration of public-private partnerships might be enable more structures to be torn down and new homes and businesses rebuilt in their place.
7. How will you address Huntington’s dwindling population?
I prefer to look at Huntington as the epicenter of the Tri-State. As economic development takes place in Huntington, Barboursville and South Point, Huntington benefits immensely. And that results in some people choosing to make Huntington home.
8. How will you continue to encourage the decrease in crime throughout the city?
I think what tends to happen is we view crime in Huntington in a vacuum, without looking at crime statistics in cities of similar size across the country. When you look at our data over the past 10 years, you'll see a decrease. And, when comparing to other cities, you'll see we're just as safe.
9. Do you think staffing levels for the city’s police and fire departments are adequate, too low or too high? If you think changes are needed, how would you accomplish those?
The police department's staffing levels are too low. But not because of a budget shortfall. They simply cannot recruit enough qualified candidates to become police officers -- a problem that is commonplace among departments across the country. All we can hope for is that more men and women view law enforcement as the honorable profession that it is and choose to apply.
10. The state of WV government recently put all finances and purchases online for the public’s review. Do you support a similar thing happening in Huntington?
It's only a matter of time before this happens because technology has made it easy. I hope, and anticipate, that it will take place proactively and without mandate by city council.