Commissioners limit court house access

By Kayla Hawthorne -

POINT PLEASANT — Mason County Commissioners approved a motion to limit access to the court house during their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioners decided it was safest to limit access into the courthouse starting Monday. Many of the offices can meet someone outside of the building, but most business can be dealt with through the mail. The commissioners said individual offices will determine how they will staff the offices during this time.

Commissioners also said they will not be renting county properties, such as community buildings, until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the meeting, commissioners heard from Phyllis Arthur with the New Haven Pool Committee. Arthur said the pool has been open since 2007, but was built in the 1940s. This will be the third year that the pool has free admission to everyone. Arthur said the pool had a leak that needed repaired immediately. The leak and concrete repairs total $23,000. Arthur said the Claflin Foundation gave them $14,000 for the repairs. Arthur said the committee has around $4,000 in their funds to pay for part of the repairs. The commissioners approved a motion to give the New Haven Pool Committee $5,000 for the repairs.

Commissioners also heard from Larry Jones about the sewer repairs at the West Virginia State Farm Museum. Jones, the vice president of the farm museum board, said the sewer leach field for the care-takers’ trailer and bathhouse failed. During the fair, when there are campers, the water and sewage was backing up when water was being used. Jones said the board consulted with the public service district, engineers and contractors to come up with a plan to bypass the old leach field and to pump the sewage from the bathhouse and care-taker’s residence to a connection with the public sewer line maintained by the Mason County Public Service District.

Jones said the maximum estimate for the project is $71,000. The farm museum board has already put $20,000 toward the project as a down payment to begin work. Jones said he spoke with the Mason County Community Foundation, the Claflin Foundation, senators and delegates about funding the project. The project is currently on hold until they reach the state about permits.

Commissioners approved a motion to pay $20,000 to assist with the repairs.

County Clerk Diana Cromley, who was absent from the meeting, asked the commissioners to repeal the emergency absentee ballot commissioners, which the commissioners approved at their last meeting. The commissioners were to go into nursing homes to allow residents to cast their ballots, but the state is currently restricting visitors into nursing facilities.

County Administrator John Gerlach updated commissioners on the 4-H camp sewer. Gerlach said the sewer should be able to be repaired and not replaced completely.

Commissioners signed a proclamation for Fair Housing Month.

Commission President Rick Handley said the WVU Extension Office will be closed, as per the notice sent by West Virginia University.

The WVU Extension Office in Mason County asked commissioners to approve moving a current employee from part time to full time, which will cost the county $20,000. This would move the 4-H office’s budget from around $40,000 to $60,000. Gerlach and commissioners decided to speak with the county extension agent about the necessity for this position before making a decision on the matter. The commissioners are set to approve their budget on Tuesday morning.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Kayla Hawthorne

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

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