POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commission recently met approving the budget and recognizing April as Fair Housing Month.
Commissioners present were Sam Nibert and Rick Handley.
John Gerlach, county administrator, presented the July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 budget to the commission for approval.
Gerlach noted that after approval, the final copies of the budget should be ready the following week.
“Your budget, it’s smaller than the current budget,” Gerlach said. “Because we have such an influx of money in the current budget COVID-related grantsand so forth is still standing. A big chunk of that, 20% of that [is] bringing in [the] ambulance service into the budget.”
During the budget discussion, Gerlach explained the gap in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) budget and how the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds were able to bridge the gap.
“Their revenue suffered during the COVID months,” Gerlach said. “A lot of their transports that they made to doctor’s appointments and stuff for Medicare [clients], they stopped going to the doctor, the doctor quit seeing them and did start doing stuff telehealth so they wouldn’t spread the virus. So, that kind of hurt their revenue.
“The commission had the authority and did [use it] to take COVID money from CARES money from the federal government and back-fill those budgets for emergency services to bridge the gap,” Gerlach said. “The commission’s actually made the ambulance service whole again, just on paper, they weren’t quite collecting as much as they were spending and that’s the reason they made them whole, to get through this period so that their collections can catch back up to their spending budget next year for the same amount of money that they were in the beginning of this budget.”
Not only did some of the services offered by EMS go down, but due to quarantines and the spread of COVID, some workers would need to cover extra shifts, leading to extra overtime. Gerlach said things are starting to get back to a normal routine.
Gerlach also updated the commission on the 4-H camp, where a drain had collapsed causing a sinkhole that Dave Rollins will be attending to in the coming week. Gerlach said Tracey Doolittle, commissioner, has been at the camp assisting with cleaning up from a recent storm.
Jason Bechtel, assistant administrator, present the Fair Housing Resolution, recognizing April as Fair Housing Month, for commissioners to approve.
The House Resolution H.Res.363 from 2021 states, “Promoting and supporting the goals and ideals of the Fair Housing Act and recognizing April 2022 as Fair Housing Month, which includes bringing attention to the discrimination faced by everyday Americans in the United States in housing and housing-related transactions on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, disability, and religion, particularly during the COVID–19 pandemic.”
The next Mason County Commission meeting will be April 14 at 4 p.m.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.