Commissioners address animal shelter concerns

By Beth Sergent -

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commission met for its last regular meeting of the year on Wednesday, dealing with concerns at the Mason County Animal Shelter.

Posts on social media began spreading on Wednesday suggesting the animals at the shelter hadn’t been fed for multiple days. Commissioners Rick Handley, Tracy Doolittle and Sam Nibert were made aware of the concerns Wednesday.

Commissioners said prior to their meeting, they had spoken to a shelter employee who had worked Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Commissioners said, the employee indicated there was evidence someone had fed the animals at least prior to him starting his shift on Tuesday, finding some animals had food left in their bowls. County Administrator John Gerlach said staff was scheduled to work to care for the animals. Commissioners said at this point they had no evidence to suggest the animals hadn’t been cared for or fed.

In other business:

Nibert talked about his first year on the commission and what he felt should be priorities in 2018. He said a top priority needed to be securing a new buyer for the M&G Polymers Plant in Apple Grove.

“I feel like in the days to come, we’ll see new ownership,” he said, saying the commission would continue to assist Mason County Development Authority Director John Musgrave and the West Virginia Department of Commerce in any way they could to make that happen.

“Another top priority is we need to look at infrastructure needs,” Nibert said, explaining those needs should be expressed to representatives in Washington, D.C. when and if federal money becomes available. “We need to be talking to our elected officials to make sure Mason County is given the right amount of funding to put some infrastructure in this county, especially on the southern end.”

The southern end of the county houses the Apple Grove site which is one of the top sites for possible development in the state, according to officials.

Maintaining EMS services was another concern commissioners talked about when moving into the new year.

Also at the meeting, Chris Rizer of Hartford, president of the Mason County Historical and Preservation Society and a student at Shepherd University who studies historic preservation. Rizer offered the commissioners his part-time services when it came to doing inventories of historic sites across the county, the development of which could offer tax incentives for those who wish to restore properties which meet historic guidelines. Commissioners said unfortunately at this time there was no money in the budget for this service but commended Rizer on his commitment to historic preservation in the county. Commissioners cited the recent tax loss of M&G and the continued losses from the dismantling on the Philip Sporn Plant as affecting the county’s bottom line.

Commissioners approved closing the court house at 12:30 p.m. on Friday for the holiday.

By Beth Sergent

Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.

Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.