Mason Council tables overdose ordinance

MASON — It didn’t take long in the regular Mason Town Council meeting Thursday to learn that a much anticipated drug overdose ordinance, proposed by Police Chief Rich Gilkey, would be tabled.

Mayor Donna Dennis announced after a few business items that the issue was being tabled and would not be discussed. She stated council members were not told about the proposed ordinance, alluding that they learned of it by means other than the chief.

“There is nothing to discuss because there is nothing to discuss,” she stated.

A post on the Mason City Police Department Facebook page on Aug. 11 stated the chief was proposing an ordinance to the mayor and council involving overdoses in town. The post continued that the ordinance would state if you are a drug user and overdosed in the town, there would be a penalty for your actions, similar to an inducing panic code.

The post led to both newspaper stories and television broadcasts. The Facebook post had 98 comments, was shared 90 times, and had over 200 “likes.”

After learning of the council’s decision, a group attending regarding the ordinance (but never actually entering the council chambers) met in the adjoining community room of the town hall and police department to talk about the growing drug epidemic in the county. The group included Gilkey; Mason County EMS Director Dylan Handley; Mason County Day Report Director Kyle McGee; Brent Kapp, Peer-to-Peer Drug Abuse Recovery Coach; and Jessica Kapp, Drug Abuse Community Engagement Specialist. (See related story)

Following a lengthy executive session for personnel matters, which at times included Chief Gilkey, the council members agreed at the meeting’s conclusion to allow the chief to get further information for the ordinance, including meeting with an attorney. Gilkey will then return to the council with a written proposal.

Also during the meeting, Councilman Ricky Kearns said the Mason Recreation Foundation is requesting the use of town property next to the wastewater plant to be used as a parking lot for the baseball park. The fields are not only used for youth leagues, but for Wahama High School baseball, as well.

Kearns said a Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation grant is anticipated that will provide the materials needed for the parking lot, if the town will remove the sod and level the area. Mayor Dennis told the council the land would remain town property. The council agreed to table the parking lot and discuss it more when the time comes.

In other action, the council:

Voted to have Councilwoman Emily Henry serve as police commissioner, with Councilwoman Becky Pearson voting no;

Agreed to return a school bus shelter that sits on town property to the owners, and if owners do not want it, to destroy the shelter;

Heard a report that town workers have cleaned and cleared property around the senior citizen building;

Discussed several properties needing cleaned and grass mowed;

Announced that it is against a town ordinance to blow grass into the street while mowing;

Discussed the Oct. 14 Harvest Festival, agreeing to spend up to $2,000 on rides and inflatables;

Agreed to get a town credit card through a state program;

Tabled the purchase of a brush hog at a cost of $7,400; and,

Abolished the police ride-along program.

Attending were Mayor Dennis; Recorder Ciji Casto; and council members Henry, Pearson, Kearns, and Sharon Kearns.

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By Mindy Kearns

Special to the Register

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at