By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Tucker County Clerk Sherry Simmons was present at Tuesday’s Parsons City Council meeting to swear in the recently elected city council members. Mayor Dorothy Judy, Recorder Bruce Kolsun, Ward One Councilman David Greenlief, and Ward One Councilwoman Melissa Jones were all incumbents in the election and renewed their roles. Newly elected Ward Two Councilman Michael S. Matlick raised his right hand before Simmons as he swore to uphold The Constitution and represent the City of Parsons. At the conclusion of the process, City Administrator Jason Myers and Mayor Judy presented a token of their appreciation to Simmons, not only for assisting in the procedure, but for her contribution to the city election that was held concurrently with the Primary Election.
In light of the past two meetings discussion topic of approving a request for chickens, Councilman David Greenlief suggested an amendment be made to Chapter 11 of the City of Parsons Ordinance, that states there shall be no waivers granted for any rule, provision, or regulation within this chapter. Chapter 11 of the Parsons City Ordinance is what prohibits domestic fowl, pigeons, swine, vicious and dangerous animals or reptiles declared public nuisance, or noisy animals within the city limits. This will include, but is not limited to, cows, horses, goats, chickens, any livestock or any barnyard type species. Greenlief made this recommendation into a motion with a second by Auvil.
After roll call, all members were present with one absence of Councilwoman Amy Wagner. Minutes were approved from the June 16 meeting with a motion by Jones and a second by Kolsun. Invoice listed one in the amount of $107,500.72, with line items consisting of $37,000 to SafeCo Environmental for the demolition work performed, and nearly $20,000 for the quarterly insurance payments. Invoice list two was in the amount of $1,310.78 and Greenlief had to abstain from the vote. The statements were approved as presented by Financial Administrator Danielle Sponaugle.
Myers presented the council with the revenue control report for the general fund for the 2019-20 fiscal year, stating, “Overall we ended well considering.” The City of Parsons doesn’t rely on the business sales tax to operate such as several do. “We’re very fortunate to have a Harman Fund,” he added. Unfortunately, the market decreases has affected the potential draw for 2021, but it is hopeful the markets will rebound. If withdrawn now, the total amount would be just over $900,000 “They (the residents) appreciate it, too stated Councilman Kenneth Morrison. “They don’t realize it, I don’t think, how much they’re blessed,” said Judy, “some of them do, I guess.”
The coal severance fund revenue control report was separate per state requirement, which Morrison explained to Matlick is used solely for fuel costs. Morrison made a motion to approve the report with Kolsun offering a second. Monthly financial reports for April and May were acknowledged by Jones and Morrison, along with an updated project list for the Harman Fund usage.
A quote from B.F. Long and Company was submitted by Parsons City Police Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec for $2,147.50 to purchase two new shotguns and replenish their ammunition. According to the Chief, only one shotgun in the City Police arsenal is usable at this time. Morrison made a motion to approve the purchase request with a second by Jones and all in favor.
Another proposal for new tires for the city police cruisers was also brought to the council’s attention. This quote was in the amount of $2,277.81 which Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec would like to order prior to the winter rush. Morrison made the motion to approve with a second from Kolsun and all in agreement.
The final proposal for the meeting was from Rob’s Locksmith Service for a door at the Parsons Community Center. Two quotes were received with $1,053.00 being the lowest. This door can be programmed and operated through an application available via phone. Matlick stated that it will track when the doors are accessed as well, as this is the same door that is installed at the Parsons Fire Department. This quote also includes installation costs. The proposal was approved with a motion by Councilman Tim Auvil and a second by Kolsun.
Committee Assignments were made known, which remained the same with the exception of placing Matlick on the committee’s in place of former Councilman Samuel Blosser.
Employee and committee reports began with Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec providing a June citation report. Within the past 30 days, they have issued two arrest by misdemeanor citations, two speeding citations, one moving violation citation, six other citations for issues such as driving with no insurance, one traffic warning, one public appearance, and 13 code enforcement public contacts. “We’ve noticed a big increase in domestics and suicides due to, I’m assuming, the heat and people being cooped up,” he said. Code Enforcement N.C. Gidley is going to the State Police Academy in August, therefore a request was submitted to hire Brian T. Zirk as a part time patrolman to serve on a flexible schedule and as needed. Kolsun made a motion to approve hiring Zirk with a second by Morrision and all in favor.
A request was submitted to the city to turn the two way stop into a four way stop at the Second Street and Spruce Street intersection. After discussion, the council decided that it would eliminate several parking spaces to the residents inhabiting those areas and it was not posing any risks. Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec assessed the area and stated, “I don’t see a need in it at all.” The council decided not to accept this request and to allow the intersection to remain as a two way stop.
Myers’ report consisted of making the council aware of a water leak on Central Avenue that the city was made aware of and has been repaired. One of the soft starts at the raw water station went down and is in need of repair. Additional units have been ordered so a backup will always be on hand. “We don’t have a choice, we got to have it,” said Myers.
A sincere thank you was extended to Sponaugle from Myers for stepping in while he was off for health reasons. During this time, she secured approximately $2,500 from the Care Act.
The Blueprint Community and Parsons Revitalization Organization (PRO) applied for a grant through the Mills Group. It was a statewide opportunity and only four were selected, with Parsons being one of them. “What we applied for was a design for our pocket park down here where we leveled the building,” explained Myers. Morrison asked what the city had to contribute towards the project, which he was informed no match was required. The estimated amount expected to be received is between $15,000 to $20,000. Myers commended Cindy Kolsun on her work on the application for the project. An additional grant to go towards the pocket park was received by the Blueprint Community through that program in the amount of $3,500, which is dedicated towards an enclosure, such as a gazebo. “It can be used for various things,” added Judy. A motion was then made by Kolsun to dedicate the property where the former Jack the King building was located as a downtown pocket park and a second was obtained by Morrison.
A meeting is scheduled with the Parsons Economic Development Association (PEDA) to discuss potential locations for housing in town. One consideration is the location of the former P and C Furniture store. The Community Center is nearing completion and the Splash Park opened on June 26. There is a 40 person limit that has yielded no issues thus far. Wellness 24 has also returned to being accessible 24 hours per day as of July 1. The bridge for the River City Park Pond is being renovated with hopes of being installed soon.
Unfinished business consisted of matters pertaining to the Parsons Sewer Extension Project. Equipment has begun to come in to start the project and is being housed in Pulp Mill Bottom. Rob Burns, Secretary for PEDA, submitted a request to contract with The Thrasher Group to design the Industrial Park, which is hoped to house both commercial and residential options. Their proposal came in at $20,000, which was granted by a motion by Kolsun and a second by Jones.
There is a memorandum of understanding between the City of Parsons and the Tucker County Cultural District Authority to work together. Myers explained this is not a binding agreement or commitment, just a partnership.
The Tucker County Historical Society submitted a request for the city to assist in purchasing a secured entry door for the Railroad Depot. An estimate was received by Todd Bolyard in the amount of $1,500, which Jones motioned to support with a second by Kolsun.
A resignation letter was received from Michael G. Helmick, which was also accepted with extreme regret by Jones and Morrison.
A design template for the downtown wayfinding signs was presented to the council for consideration. Myers presented the options to the council which provided an aerial map of the city which will be located at the new pocket park as well as additional directions. Restaurants were not included on the wayfinding maps however due to the high turnover rate. Kolsun made a motion to select the example with the logo on the top of the sign with Morrison making a second.
For the Good of the Order, Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec announced that through the work of OEM Director and Company 10 Fire Chief Kevin White, it is probable a Smokey Bear Fire Hazard sign will be placed in Parsons as well as one on the mountain. Auvil also asked why the handrail installed from the Tucker Manor to Route 72 stopped two steps shy of the sidewalk, to which Myers responded saying he has been talking to a company about addressing that issue and is waiting for a quote.
The next gathering of the Parsons City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m.