MASON — The first reading of a new municipal election ordinance was held during the most recent meeting of the Mason Town Council.
Present were Mayor Donna Dennis, Recorder Harley Stewart, and council members Marty Yeager, Sharon Kearns, Steve Ohlinger and Becky Pearson.
The ordinance, which will follow the West Virginia State Code guidelines, will be read at two additional meetings before passage. The most significant change to the ordinance will be the amount of the candidate filing fee. Previously $5 for anyone wanting to seek office, the fee will now be one percent of the annual salary amount for that particular office. New filing fees will be $6 for council, $50 for recorder, and $100 for mayor.
Also during the meeting, the council voted to give bonuses to police officers who sign a contract with the town, beyond that of their initial contract.
At the time of hiring, officers sign a contract that they will stay a certain amount of time. If the officer breaks the contract, he/she must repay the town a prorated portion of the academy fees. A new contract will now be offered once the initial contract is fulfilled. Officers will have the option of not signing it, or signing an additional one, two, or three year contract. Bonuses of various amounts will be given to the officers, increasing with the lengths of their stay. As in the initial contract, if the officer does not fulfill the contract, a payback amount will be prorated.
Employee incentive bonuses at Christmas were also passed at the meeting. Full-time employees will be given $275, with the seasonal park attendant receiving $50, and municipal judge getting $150. Mayor Dennis declined the $25 increase, and will receive $250.
Ronie Wheeler, Mason County Prevention Coalition coordinator, attended to tell members about a needs assessment that will be conducted, which will include Mason County. The assessment is being conducted as part of a grant awarded to Prestera Center.
The assessment will examine the prevention, treatment and recovery needs of individuals and communities affected by opioid/substance use. A meeting will be held Nov. 19, 3:30 p.m., at the extension office next to the county courthouse. He urged the council members to become involved in the assessment process.
In other action, the council:
Agreed to allow Pullins Excavating to begin work on culvert repairs on Fourth Street at the same estimate, $15,000, as voted on in June;
Agreed to pay Pullins Excavating $36,992 for the sidewalk project, with the town to be reimbursed by the Department of Highways grant;
Voted to terminate a contract with Triad Engineering for preliminary work on Phase II of a wastewater upgrade project, with the $9,360 already owed to be paid to Triad in $1,000 installments;
Agreed to give a $100 boot allowance to town laborers;
Reported the recent acceptance of credit cards has brought in over $2,000 to the town, some of which was fine payments;
Heard a report from the mayor that the town is now bringing in more revenue than the expenditures;
Agreed to a land survey behind the water pump house to determine town property lines, following a tree removal paid by the town at $1,400;
Heard a report from the mayor that a contract between the town and Wahama High School for use of town property for parking during baseball season has been sent to new Principal Melissa VanMeter; and,
Viewed a plaque shown by Police Chief Colton McKinney that the department received, a gold AAA Community Traffic Award.
The next meeting will be Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.