PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – 2021 was a busy year for Mercer County. They saw huge progress on a number of projects and the county commission is excited to keep things moving.
According to County Commissioner Greg Puckett, COVID-19 has easily been the biggest factor influencing the county. One important aspect of that is funding from the American Rescue Plan, and how the county will use it to upgrade infrastructure.
“We are starting to look at how the ARP funds are gonna be moving us forward,” Puckett said. “What we’re gonna be able to invest that in. Is it gonna be broadband, water and sewer, broadband, parks and recreation to help boost our local economy.”
As well, the commission and the health department are dedicated to keeping the COVID-19 crisis under control. Mercer is one of the larger in the area counties population wise, and they have seen many spikes in cases over the past year.
And those problems are likely to stay as the Omicron Variant continues to spread.
“We are still not past COVID. We still have a public health crisis on our hands. So we need to make sure we continually focus on that. We also need to ask where are those resources to help alleviate those problems?”
Although COVID-19 has taken priority in many cases, the county has still made progress on many projects. One of the most successful so far is the dilapidated building ordinance.
The county has worked for years to draw up an ordinance that lets them tear down and repurpose dilapidated structures, of which there are many across the entire county.
“We’re right on target. If you look at the way the dilapidated structures ordinance came in, the need for comprehensive land use planning, all of those things we identified over the years is really starting to take fruition.”
Not all projects have seen good progress however. One example is the county shutting down their needle exchange program, due to increasing demands from the state legislature.
However, in the new year, the county is hopeful to continue their efforts to keep the community and keep things with COVID-19 under control