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Mon Commission joins Morgantown Council in backing emergency warming shelter

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Commission on Wednesday approved $38,041 to help fund a warming shelter at Hazel’s House of Hope.

The allocation matches the funding amount approved by Morgantown City Council on Nov. 2.

Janette Lewis, community impact director for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties, previously said all the funds being raised will be used to staff the shelter for a maximum of 105 days. 

Unlike in years past, the shelter will be open regardless of temperature.

Commission President Tom Bloom said the county has committed approximately $750,000 in recent years for entities and programs on Scott Avenue.

“Then here again we have an emergency situation and need an emergency shelter. What we all agreed is that this is the last year the county commission is going to fund an “emergency” shelter. We want there to be a plan and a direction,” Bloom said. “There needs to be a plan of action. We just can’t keep throwing money at it. Five years now and we’re in the same situation.”

In addition to the city and county, the Mylan Puskar Foundation has provided $15,000 and Your Community Foundation has put up $5,500 for the shelter.

In other news from Wednesday’s meeting, the commission renewed the contract with West Virginia University for processing and transportation services to North Central Regional Jail for individuals arrested by the WVU Police Department in 2023 calendar year.

Currently, the county charges all arresting agencies $35 per trip as long as that agency has one arrestee on board.

Commissioner Sean Sikora said that number hasn’t been adjusted since he took office in 2016.

“So with the rising cost of gas, vehicle maintenance and all those things, and the rising cost of personnel, we will be taking a look at that,” he said. 

Bloom also noted the county’s jail bill will jump from $48.25 per inmate, per day, to $54.48 starting in July 2023.

Also on Wednesday, the commission warned of an annual scam asking businesses to pay a third party to file mandatory annual reports with the state for a charge of up to $140.

Though technically legal, businesses can file themselves for $25.

“That can be filled out online at and it’s incredibly easy. They’ll take your payment right over the computer so you don’t need to use a secondary service,” Commissioner Jeff Arnett said.

Lastly, the commission certified the results of the Nov. 8 election.

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