Commissioners discuss Beech Hill property


By Brittany Hively - [email protected]



The Mason County Commission discussed the future of the Beech Hill property in Southside.

The Mason County Commission discussed the future of the Beech Hill property in Southside.


Brittany Hively | OVP

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commission recently met discussing county business and the future of the Beech Hill property.

Commissioners present were Tracy Doolittle, Sam Nibert and Rick Handley.

Nibert said he would like to gather Southside residents to discuss the future of the Beech Hill property along Route 35. The property, an estimated 3.7 to 4 acres, was donated to the Mason County Commission. Commissioners decided to hold a public meeting with a Q&A discussion on what to do with the property on Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Henderson Community Building. All Southside residents are encouraged to attend.

Linda Roush met with the commission to present an estimate on replacing 24 fans in the 4-H Junior building on the Mason County Fairgrounds. Roush said the current fans are a hazard.

“It was so hot in there last year,” Roush said. “And those fans have been there, probably, since the building was built, and they’re all drooping. So, they’re kind of dangerous.”

Nibert attested to the condition of the fans and need for replacement.

The estimate — from Josh Sayre, electrician — suggested an outside fan, downsizing to 15 fans and included installation, removal and disposal for $6,000.

Sayre is contracted through the fair, but Roush said it was only for a couple of weeks per year, near the fair and Sayre told her he would like to start on the project now.

Roush asked if the commission could help with the cost to replace the fans. Doolittle said she would like to get an itemized estimate from Sayre, as well as at least one more bid. Roush said she would ask Sayre for an itemized estimate to bring to the next commission building.

During Roush’s visit at the meeting, there was discussion on the county’s 4-H camp and the work being done there. Roush said the brick wall is complete. She asked John Gerlach, county administrator, when the water would be turned on. Gerlach said it can be turned on when there is no chance of freezing.

Doolittle said there are plans to have the bunkhouses pressure washed and depending on how they look after being cleaned, possibly painted.

No action was taken on the fans or camp.

Matthew L. Clark, attorney, met with the commission over the state opioid lawsuit. Commissioners went into a brief executive session to discuss the matter.

Doolittle made a motion to sign a resolution allowing Jason Bechtel to sign documents related to the settlement on behalf of the county. The motion was approved.

A resolution was presented to the commission “to support the application by Region 2 Planning and Development Council to the West Virginia of Economic Development GigReady Incentive Program to request no-cost technical assistance with identifying targeted areas for broadband and deployment; Whereas the Mason County Commission must have a resolution authorizing the pledge matching amount from the pledge organization.” Handley made the motion to approve the resolution and the motion was approved.

The commission signed the resolution with “a non-binding matching pledge of $2.6 million for a future broadband construction project developed through the technical assistance we receive.”

Gerlach gave an update on the prosecutor’s office project, needing a letter of agreement for Mario Liberatore, Ohio Valley Bank President.

“He [Liberatore] needs a letter for his records,” Gerlach said. “With all three signatures from the commission agreeing to the terms of the loan, which are $400k for 48 months at 3.79%.”

Gerlach said there is also a non-appropriation of funds clause required by the county auditor in case of an event where the county goes under. Gerlach said Liberatore “stuck to his guns” with the interest rates as rates have went up by the time the loan was presented.

“He also says in the agreement, there’s no prepayment penalty for early payoff,” Gerlach said.

A brief discussion on the budget was made in regards to the emergency medical services (EMS) for the county. The current EMS budget is short $120,000. Commissioners discussed with Gerlach on the possibilities of covering the shortage and/or bridging the gap in the budget. No action was taken on the matter.

Doolittle gave “kudos” to Nibert and Diana Cromley, County Clerk, on the county recycling center.

“I took some clothes out there for the church and it was all cleaned up,” Doolittle said. “They loaded everything for us and it was a lot better than it was up there a few months back.”

Nibert said there is still some work to be done involving moving some containers and such, but currently, “we just don’t have the manpower,” he said.

Handley said he attended a recent transit meeting.

“Things are supposed to slowly get back [to normal],” Handley said. “Still nowhere near [before], but none of the other counties are back to where they were either.”

Handley said the National Transportation Board is still requiring masks for the time being.

Handley also reported that applications for director of the County Commissioners Association West Virginia are being accepted. He said there have already been 30-40 applications received.

Doolittle asked about the possibility of a fair audit, from previous conversations. An estimated price is $10-15,000, she said, “I don’t think we can afford that.” Commissioners discussed the possibility of the audit being done independently or having an “end-of-year review.” Bechtel said he would try to get some estimates.

The next Mason County Commission meeting is Thursday, March 24 at 4 p.m.

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The Mason County Commission discussed the future of the Beech Hill property in Southside.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2022/03/web1_croppedcommission.jpgThe Mason County Commission discussed the future of the Beech Hill property in Southside. Brittany Hively | OVP

By Brittany Hively

[email protected]

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.

Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.