POINT PLEASANT —The Mason County Commission has voted to attempt to enter into a contract with another design firm for the renovation of the old Point Pleasant Hardware building now owned by the county.
Commissioners Rick Handley, Miles Epling and Bob Baird voted to consider another firm at the Mason County Commission’s regular business meeting on Thursday.
Last month, commissioners voted to attempt to enter into a contract with Baker and Associates of Charleston for the design phase of the renovation. Baker and Associates was chosen after each commissioner met individually with three total firms, went through a ranking process and chose the firm with the highest overall score.
However, contract negotiations apparently broke down at some point with County Administrator John Gerlach saying the commission couldn’t seem to negotiate a contract within what seemed like a reasonable fee. For this reason, the commission is permitted to attempt to negotiate a contract with the firm which came in second in the overall rankings, Chapman Technical Group of St. Albans.
The building will have to be designed to meet standards contained within the Americans with Disabilities Act and the electrical system will need upgraded. In addition to housing the sheriff’s department, commissioners have talked about using space in the building to store voting machines as well as create an office area used for county employee training. Last month, the design phase of the project was predicted to at least take most of the summer.
In other business:
Steve Stewart of American Electric Power publicly thanked the citizens of West Virginia and Mason County for their patience during the massive power outages caused by last month’s storm system. Stewart said the outage was the largest in the company’s history with more than 571,000 customers without electricity and 15,000 broken utility poles. He said the storm was 600 miles long and 200 miles wide and basically wiped out years of work though he said all power was restored within two weeks. Stewart added more than 5,100 linemen were called to West Virginia from 22 states, the furthest being from South Dakota. Stewart said many of these utility workers commented on how well people from this area treated them while they were here. Handley spoke for the entire commission when once again recognizing all utility workers for coming to Mason County to help restore power.
Stewart said one of the major issues in Mason County, when it came to restoring power, was severe damage to the transmission line system. He also urged everyone with an outage to call AEP so that it can be documented and fixed.
Madison Crank of Henderson, who is the West Virginia Beef Ambassador, also gave a presentation to the commission about raising beef cattle in West Virginia and what it means to the local and state economy. Crank, who raises her own beef cattle and often presents a livestock project at the fair, said the purpose of a livestock project is to keep agriculture a part of everyone’s future. She also said, as the new ambassador, she wanted to educate consumers about locally raised beef and to support the beef industry. Crank also presented the commission with hamburgers processed from her own beef cattle.
A representative from Mason County Economic Development Group reported its website will be up and running soon.
Commissioners asked Gerlach to draft a letter to Suddenlink Communications in response to a resident’s complaint about the company dropping a channel from one of its extended basic cable lineups and asking for more money to replace it.
The Commission recognized resident Ed Lowe who will be honored on Wednesday, Aug. 8 by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for his dedication to service at the annual Governor’s Service Awards banquet at the Charleston Civic Center. The banquet is held as a part of Faces of Leadership, the annual state volunteerism conference.
This year’s new 4-H royalty also led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance and are Amanda King, 4-H queen, Karlee Edmonds, junior miss 4-H, Sarah Deem, young miss 4-H. (A photo of these young ladies will appear in an upcoming edition of the Point Pleasant Register.)
The Commission set their August meeting dates for 4 p.m., Aug. 16 and 30.