By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The agenda for the Parsons City Council was shorter than usual as they are preparing for their biggest meeting of the year on March 15; that of the Harman Fund Withdrawal. Danielle Sponaugle, Financial Director for City, presented an invoice list for $55,209.15. Councilman Tim Auvil made a motion to make the payments with Councilwoman Melissa Jones offering a second and all in favor.
City Administrator and Treasurer Jason Myers prepared a General Fund and Coal Severance Revenue Control Report, which Auvil and Recorder Bruce Kolsun acknowledged the receipt of. An updated project list for the Harman Memorial Fund was provided which Kolsun and Auvil both moved to accept with all in favor.
Parsons City Chief of Police K.L. Keplinger announced that in 2020, the Parsons Police Department answered 261 dispatch calls for service from 911. “When you compare the size of our area compared to the Sheriff’s Department and the State Police, that’s impressive,” he stated. To date, he and his officers have dedicated 88 hours to working with the Covid-19 vaccination clinics, and continue to do so as long as they are being held. “Last week we had 462 vaccinations,” Keplinger added. At the time of the meeting, W.Va. led the country in percentage of vaccine distributions, with Tucker County leading the state.
New Code Enforcement Officer Adam Arbogast has been in the office several times and has had his uniform and equipment ordered and fitted for his ballistic vest. Keplinger is working with the Fire Marshal’s Office to get as much training for Arbogast as possible. An online training academy will take place in June that will follow up with a test that Arbogast will be preparing for. The grant the City received for the position will cover the costs of the course and the needed reference books.
An issue recently arose with an individual using Wellness 24 without a membership by entering another person’s pin number. “I ended up citing him for that,” said Keplinger. “If we find someone there who does not have a membership, who uses someone else’s pin, that’s what’s going to happen,” he added. Auvil reiterated that when people are caught using the facility with another member’s pin, or someone is found to be giving out their pin for others to use, they risk losing their membership, being cited, and fined.
Mayor Dorothy Judy was then handed a Memorandum of Understanding from Keplinger that was signed by Sheriff J.E. Kopec which is a formality between police departments when working jointly. “I like this that we work together,” claimed Judy.
Myers recently met with Thrasher Engineering Group on three projects ongoing within the City, the Parsons Emergency Water Preparedness, the Resiliency Project, and the Sewer Improvements Project. Auvil stated the group was pleased that the City has allocated $50,000 to the sewer improvements which hopefully will aid in financial assistance to carry out the project. It was discovered that in the long term control plan, phase four was passed over, though phase five has already been completed. It is expected for there to be a shortage of building supplies and their prices have drastically increased, making the quotes for these projects potentially invalid.
Myers thanked all of the office staff at City Hall and those who have been helping get the word out to the water and sewer customers of the upcoming rate increase. Information has been sent out with the water bills to help clarify what the customers can expect.
The Mon Forest Towns Initiative has a $5,000 grant for Parsons for signage that is going to compose two to three directional signs that will be put at Mill Race Park and the new coming Pocket Park. “It tells a little bit about the time, it tells about the music, the community things that we do and the outdoor recreation that we have,” Myers detailed.
The Kingsford Pump Station start up did not go as planned due to what is expected to be electronic issues. It is expected to be online within the next couple of weeks. The Public Work Staff has worked on the sidewalk near the Laundromat to make it more handicap accessible, with Myers sharing he would like to see the “bump outs” eliminated to offer easier parking and less damage to plowing vehicles.
The City Council was asked to consider submitting a letter of support for the ARC Power Proposal submitted by the W.Va. Community Development Hub for the Downtown Appalachia: Revitalizing Recreational Economies Program. Jones and Auvil moved to offer a letter of support with all in favor.
Council then moved into an executive session to discuss matters regarding a potential civil action lawsuit. Upon returning to regular session, Judy announced no decisions had been made.
Myers presented information from the Municipal League highlighting a program available for customers interested in additional warranty services. Council Members will review the programs being offered and determine if they will develop a resolution to the matter.
Councilman David Greenlief brought to the table a motion to adjourn with Jones and all members in favor. The Parsons City Council will meet again for a public hearing, the Harman Fund Withdrawal, and a regular session.