PARKERSBURG - A candidate running for Parkersburg City Council District 5 says he'll support the elimination of the user fee.
Democrat J.R. Carpenter and Republican Joseph K. Backus are running to succeed Councilman Sharyn Tallman, who is running for mayor.
Backus said he work eliminating the Parkersburg user fee that was passed in 2011.
"I have several ideas of how to make up for the income when the user fee is eliminated," he said.
Backus also wants to secure funding for a new downtown parking garage because he believes the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority is not utilizing the large parking garage it had constructed several years ago. He disagrees with renting parking spots on a monthly basis.
"Many people still have problems trying to find a place to park when conducting business downtown," he said.
Backus would work for more improvements at the new riverfront park at Point Park with the goal of bringing it up to the same level as similar parks in other cities, such as Point Pleasant.
He is also interested in job creation and believes development or redevelopment of the St. Joseph's Hospital after once it is closed would be a big opportunity for the city and all options should be explored.
Carpenter said he would use his experience as a business owner to serve his district.
"I live in this district, I work and I play and I pray in this district," he said.
Carpenter describes District 5 as an eclectic mix of high-income, low-income residences and businesses. That results in a wide variety of needs, but the foundation of most involves infrastructure, with repairs and improvements needed at many levels, he said.
Infrastructure improvements will help residents and also make the city more attractive to business, which can result in new businesses, new jobs and a greater tax revenue base, he said.
"What I would like to bring to the table is some positive changes for the city, some reductions in some of what the citizens have to pay, I hope eventually," he said. "But that will take a lot of working together with the other councilmen because it takes five of us to make a change. One can't do it, but one can get the ball rolling."