Commissioners discuss tax collections, jail costs

By Kayla Hawthorne - [email protected]

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commissioners discussed delinquent taxes, regional jail costs, and risk training during the last regular meeting, held last week.

All three county commissioners — President Rick Handley, Sam Nibert, and Tracy Doolittle — were present at the meeting with Mason County Clerk Diana Cromley and County Administrator John Gerlach.

Commissioners discussed finding an attorney to handle the delinquent tax collections and narrowed the search to Atkins and Ogle Law Offices, LC, and Bellomy and Turner, LC. Handley made a recommendation to select Bellomy and Turner, LC as the attorneys for delinquent tax collections.

Nibert invited Mason County Del. Jim Butler (R-District 14) and Del. Scott Cadle (R-District 13) to discuss the costs associated with the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority. Gerlach said the county pays $75,000 – $80,000 per month to house inmates at the regional jail in Barboursville and is at risk of being over the annual budget. Currently, anyone who is arrested in Mason County will go to the Western Regional Jail and the county will pay for the cost to house them there. This includes individuals who are arrested by city police and state police, not just county deputies.

Del. Brandon Steele (R-Raleigh, District 29) is reportedly sponsoring a bill that would alleviate some of the cost from the county government. Nibert said his understanding of the bill would require the state to pay for inmates from a city of less than 10,000 people, which would include Point Pleasant.

Handley said the costs of inmates is taking away resources from everyone else in the county.

Vivian Parsons, a public entity specialist with West Virginia Counties Risk Pool (WVCoRP), spoke to the commissioners about trainings the pool offers. WVCoRP is a risk management program that provides commercial insurance to counties. Parsons talked about the free trainings offered, including active shooter, cyber security, blood-borne pathogen, sexual harassment and an array of law enforcement trainings.

Handley updated the commission about the public transportation in Mason County, which began in July. The buses operate through Tri River Transit and have driven 1,094 passengers from July through November. Handley said they are looking for another driver. The employee will be trained and does not need a Commercial Driver’s License. Applications can be picked up in the commissioners office on the first floor of the Mason County Courthouse.

Commissioners asked for a meeting between the dog warden, assistant dog warden and sheriff to discuss policies involving calls that dog wardens could face that might require law enforcement’s involvement.

The next commissioners meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 at 10 a.m. for the organizational meeting.

By Kayla Hawthorne

[email protected]

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.