Commissioners receive Block Grant update


By Kayla Hawthorne - khawthorne@aimmediamidwest.com



POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commissioners met on Thursday afternoon for their regular business meeting.

During the commission meeting, Dennis Zimmerman, director of Mason County Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), gave an update of Gov. Jim Justice’s block grant. Zimmerman said the new projects that the county approved to use the grant for include around $500 for the City of Point Pleasant for sneeze guards, personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies. Around $12,700 was approved for large storage containers to store PPE for the county.

Zimmerman said the OES bought four 40-feet storage containers to be placed around the county. Zimmerman said at the end of June, they are expecting a shipment of two semi trailers of PPE. This is a “stock pile” to be used in the fall months if the virus outbreak increases.

Zimmerman also said that he received calls from an employee at Lakin asking where their “hero pay” was. Zimmerman said he explained the grant and the governor’s choice of words about the block grant.

Zimmerman updated the commission on his budget paperwork for the OES and EMS offices. Zimmerman asked to reallocate a few items within his budget, noting that he was not asking for an increase. These changes include increasing eight positions at the department by $2,000 per year, making the salary from around $25,700 to around $27,700. Additionally, Zimmerman wants to increase the part-time wage from $10.60 to $11 per hour. Commissioners approved this request.

For the EMS office, Zimmerman asked to appoint Elisabeth Lloyd to a staff position to be the director for EMS and handle the day-to-day operations there.

County Clerk Diana Cromley presented commissioners with the oaths of office for a few of the newly elected officials.

Cromley told commissioners her office can apply for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to be reimbursed for things such as PPE, more absentee ballots and envelopes, over time for employees, etc. Cromley said this will be through the Secretary of State Mac Warner.

Commissioners approved the prosecutor hiring an assistant, David W. Hancock Jr., who started June 16. The starting pay will be $55,000 and move to $57,500 after six months.

Commissioners will be waiting for the next meeting to discuss the dilapidated buildings ordinance because Commissioner Sam Nibert was unable to attend the meeting on Thursday.

County Administrator John Gerlach said the animal shelter rented a van to deliver 37 dogs to rescues.

Commission President Rick Handley read a letter form the Mason Police Commissioner saying “thank you” to the county sheriff for buying out one of the officer’s contact. The sheriff’s budget paid for Mason Police to send someone to be trained.

Handley reminded everyone that the Mason County Courthouse will be closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.

The next meeting of the Mason County Commissioners will be July 16 at 4 p.m.

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By Kayla Hawthorne

khawthorne@aimmediamidwest.com

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.