POINT PLEASANT — People with vehicles who have out-of-state tags who are also living in Mason County are being put on notice to change their registration within the 30 days the law allows, or face fines.
According to Mason County Commission President Rick Handley, this week a meeting on this very topic was held at the Mason County Courthouse with Handley, Commissioner Tracy Doolittle, County Administrator John Gerlach, as well as representatives from law enforcement and other officials from surrounding municipalities. In addition, new W.Va. State Police Post Commander Sgt. T.S. Mills, Mason County Sheriff Greg Powers, Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Craig Tatterson and Assessor Ron Hickman, along with former sheriff Michael Roach, sat in on the informational get together.
The idea of the meeting was to discuss what has been a thorn in the side of many residents who do pay personal property taxes on their vehicles in West Virginia while others, who may be their neighbors, do not by enjoying the benefits of living in, and being a resident of Mason County, without paying taxes due to their vehicles being registered in another state, typically in Ohio.
Gerlach said this issue is not only an issue in Mason County but across the state - often coming up as a hot topic at meetings of the county commissioners association of West Virginia. Gerlach said this issue really comes down to a matter of fairness.
During the meeting, the representatives from municipalities were asked to be on the lookout in their communities for those with out-of-state tags who are actually living in West Virginia. By law, a new resident has 30 days to change their vehicle’s registration or face a $500 fine. Roach has been brought in to Hickman’s office two days a week to concentrate just on this matter - a job he was working at before being appointed as sheriff last year.
Doolittle said the process of reviewing these vehicles would be thorough and therefore, fair.
If residents know of someone living in Mason County who has never changed their out-of-state tags, they should contact the Mason County Assessor’s Office and that information can be anonymous.
This issue was discussed at this week’s meeting of the Mason County Commission with Commissioner Miles Epling also speaking his support for the initiative to resolve the problem and keep it fair for all taxpayers.