By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Parsons City Police Chief K.L. Keplinger and personnel conducted interviews for the Code Enforcement Officer after they prioritized their desires of the successful candidate. “I would like to propose that we hire Adam Arbogast,” said Chief Keplinger. Arbogast currently works as a dispatcher for 911 and is a member of the Parsons Volunteer Fire Department. “I believe that he would be a very good fit within our department,” he said. Parsons Mayor Dorothy Judy stated there were several qualified candidates who were interviewed for the position, but Arbogast stood out. Kolsun moved to hire Arboast as the part time Code Enforcement Officer at $10 per hour with Councilman Michael Matlick offering a second. The Council voted unanimously in favor.
The Council then discussed with Chief Keplinger the upcoming training and recommended certifications that Arbogast will be seeking. The Code Enforcement Officer for Elkins, Phil Isner, has offered to take Arbogast on some ride-alongs to help him become familiar with his new role. A grant that was received will assist in covering his training and certifications.
Craig Jennings with WVCoRP came to the Parsons City Council to offer W.Va. Communities Risk Pool Insurance and share its benefits. After sharing some of his background, Jennings stated, “Currently, we provide more coverage to public entities in related agencies than any other single provider in the state of West Virginia,” with 50 of the 55 counties. The membership gains access to online tools to handle claims which are updated three times daily for timely results, periodic property appraisals free of charge, training and seminars, review of leases, agreements, and handbooks for example. City Administrator Jason Myers explained their renewal is October 1, and Phillilps is coming to show what they have to offer in comparison to Travelers, which is their current provider. Myers added this program is endorsed by the W.Va. Municipal League. Judy asked when an estimate could be received, with Jennings responding he can work with their renewal period and what WVCoRP typically renews to work with everyone’s schedule.
Eleni Brick and Randy Watson with Thrasher Engineering were on the call to provide an update on the Kingsford Sewer Extension Project, stating that a pump station initial startup was planned for later that week but was delayed to February 23 due to weather. Watson spoke on the connection of the Hamrick PSD and Parsons City project, which a grant has been applied for over the last five years and has yet to be successful. “So we need to look at something to get the thing funded,” said Watson.
Watson continued stating; if Thrasher would design the project, it could be taken to the Development Office and be presented as a project ready to be executed, and just needs the funds in addition to the $50,000 set aside by the City for the project. “I just think it would help us in getting the thing funded if we went ahead and got it designed,” he said. Judy asked how much it would cost to develop a design, to which he responded that the $50,000 already earmarked could go towards the design. Brick added that if the cost exceeds that amount, the remaining balance would be carried over by Thrasher until the project funds are received. Watson feels confident this route would secure the needed finances to begin this needed project.
Kevin White, Director of Office of Emergency Management and Co. 10 Parsons Volunteer Fire Chief, wanted to share some good news with the City Council. Approximately a month ago he was contacted by an individual in the Grafton City Fire Department to see if PVFD would be interested in obtaining a piece of equipment from their department free of charge. “Basically it’s a smokehouse that is used for training for youth so we can take it to the schools and things like that,” White explained. This two floor unit can be hitched behind a truck and towed to different locations to teach people how to escape a disastrous situation. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to our community awareness,” said White.
White also wished to make a request to draw $14,000 out of the fire fund to go towards the purchase of a side by side rescue vehicle. He suggested that the use of the rail trail, wilderness areas, and waterways, this unit would be invaluable to their rescue efforts. Councilman Tim Auvil moved to withdraw the funds for the purchase with Councilwoman Melissa Jones offering a second with all in favor.
A meeting was held earlier that day with Robbie McClung and White in regards to the race the PVFD is hoping to hold during their Homecoming Festivities. An online registration platform is set to launch on March 1, with White saying, “The response so far has been overwhelming.” “I feel that this venture we’re looking at undertaking here will help showcase what we have,” he added. May 15 is the day of the race which will begin and end at Mill Race Park. Chief Keplinger plans to have all available staff on hand to assist with traffic control for the event.
The minutes from February 2 were approved before moving into financial items. Finance Director Danielle Sponaugle had an invoice for approval in the amount of $47,121.89. Auvil made a motion to approve payment of the invoices with a second from Recorder Bruce Kolsun and all in favor. Myers prepared a monthly financial report for January 2021, which was acknowledged before he explained the lease proposal from Country Roads Leasing, LLC. It is for a 2020 fully equipped Ford Explorer that would be road ready for the Parsons City Police. It is a demo model with 6,500 miles for $49,699. “The other cruiser we have is paid off,” stated Myers and there are plans for the Dodge Charger to utilize it for the Code Enforcement Officer. This would give the department four vehicles, which Jones stated, “I don’t think we need to have four total in our fleet.” She agrees with the new purchase and uses something for the Code Enforcement Officer, but there is only one full time officer and the remaining staff is part time.
Chief Keplinger gave the example of the Covid Vaccine Clinics his department is assisting with that resulted in three officers in uniform that needed a vehicle for traffic control. Auvil suggested getting the value of the Charger feeling that it would be worth keeping due to age. Auvil moved to purchase the vehicle with a six year lease agreement with Jones offering a second and all in favor.
Employee and committee reports began with Chief Keplinger commending Patrolman N.C. Gidley for holding the record for traffic stops within a shift inside the city limits. He also thanked White for his support with the vaccination clinics where 372 shots were administered at the last event. “It’s truly a group effort,” he confirmed.
Auvil, being the President of the Planning Committee, highlighted an updated list of current and future projects. Six were able to be removed as they have been completed, though more have been added.
The Water and Wastewater Report was also provided by Auvil stating he and John “Red” Lipscomb, Chief Water/Wastewater Operator, spoke about a quote for needed equipment at the Raw Water Intake Station. Auvil said a line item for these items could be expected on the financial requests for the Harman Fund next month.
Auvil read the report from Lipscomb that stated the backwash station panels should be complete within the next three to four weeks. Within the next six months, there will be a need to update the telemetry modems due to a mandatory upgrade to the AT&T network, which will lose communication with the station. Each site is an estimated cost of $300 to perform the upgrades with some potentially needing a new external antenna for $125 each. There are a total of eight stations. Auvil estimates the total cost to be approximately $3,000. Auvil made a motion to approve the purchases not to exceed $3,500 with Matlick making a second and all in agreement.
Estimates are being sought from C.I. Thornburg for a new raw water intake. Lipscomb would like to look into the possibility of purchasing and installing radio reads for the water meters, which would require a CROP study in the amount of $800. Lipscomb was proud to report that they have qualified for reduced monitoring on the TTHM and HAA5, which results in the monitoring only needing to be done once per year instead of quarterly.
The Parks and Recreation Committee recently met and discussed tree removal that is needed in Mill Race Park and the Corrick’s Ford BattleField area. Steve Hinton has been used in years past and he charges $50 per hour.
A list of rules and ordinances for the City Parks was presented and requested to be included in the ordinances. These rules pertain to smoking and tobacco use, trash, restroom facilities, pets, rentals, league sponsored events, usage and rental of the concession stand, use of park facilities and equipment, and Wellness 24. The rules have not yet been adopted but when they are, it will be included within the rules and regulations that will be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer.
The individual who was working on the Parsons Cemetery Project has relocated out of the area and will no longer be able to be involved. She has offered a full refund, however Myers stated a lot of work has been done and he doesn’t feel it should all be returned. “She’s done a lot of work that we can hand off to the next person to do this project,” he said, “I don’t feel right taking all of that.” Everything will be turned over to the City and an agreement will be made on the proper refund amount between parties.
The floor has been shored up at the Parsons Community Center and is as level and solid as possible. The underside has been insulated and the access door has been redone and since those improvements, there have not been any frozen pipes. The vent pipe has been repaired and the racks for the tables and chairs have been ordered.
Myers concluded his report by presenting Valentine’s Day gifts to the council that were made and delivered by Rory Day.
Contact was made with the Public Service Commission to review the proposed Sewer Tariff No. 10 and discussed concerns within the literature. Suggestions were made on changes that should be made, which Myers presented to the Council. Auvil offered a motion to approve the tariff with the changes as explained with Jones offering a second and all in favor.
Councilman David Greenlief moved to adjourn the meeting with everyone in favor. The next meeting of the Parsons City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6 p.m.