County receives grant for ‘Day Report’

Beth Sergent - [email protected]

POINT PLEASANT — Mason County has once again been awarded a Community Corrections Grant to fund its day report program.

Steve Presley, director of Mason County Day Report, appeared before Commissioners Tracy Doolittle, Miles Epling and Rick Handley on Thursday to present the commission with a resolution to accept the grant.

Presley said the county has been approved to receive $140,000, which was $10,000 less than it received from the state of West Virginia last year. Presley noted the reduction in the award amount wasn’t completely surprising, given current state budget issues. The grant will fund the day report program for one year.

Also at Thursday’s regularly scheduled county commission meeting:

A representative from Atkins and Ogle Law Offices of Buffalo, spoke to commissioners about services the firm offers in relation to collecting taxes owed to the county. The firm, which the representative said was recently retained by Putnam County to provide a similar service, would take a 25 percent fee of any taxes from delinquent accounts which were collected. There would be no contract and the firm would work on however many cases the commission would give them to collect. Basically, any accounts turned over to the firm would be taxes the county had previously resigned itself to not receiving after attempts to do so, which means, collecting something is better than nothing.

The representative said the newly passed Senate Bill 27, frees counties from paying any filing fees, costs or bonds or securities and allows them to put private firms to work in the tax collection process on that contingency basis, freeing up county staff that could be dedicated to the collection process.

Handley passed the contact information for Mason County EMS to the representative to possibly allow EMS to utilize the service to collect past due amounts.

There was no action taken on this presentation. The amount owed to the county in these severely delinquent taxes was not immediately known or available at press time.

County Administrator John Gerlach reported materials would be delivered to the 4-H camp on Friday with the national guard volunteers arriving that same day to continue work on construction of the dining hall. This year, the 4-H camp was held in Ritchie County but it’s hoped the new dining hall will be completed for camp next summer. A fundraising effort is ongoing with the dining hall under roof but funds are still needed for materials like plumbing, electrical and appliances.

Gerlach also reported he had been in talks with the Claflin Foundation about funding two grants for the Mason County Animal Shelter.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, County Clerk Diana Cromley and Mary Ann Claytor, candidate for West Virginia State Auditor.

Beth Sergent

[email protected]

Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.

Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.