By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
At the most recent meeting of the Parsons City Council, a letter was received from a health professional suggesting council permit one of their patients, who resides on Pennsylvania Avenue, to have therapy chickens on her property. Mayor Dorothy Judy stated, “We’ve done it for the others,” in reference to residents within city limits being permitted to have chickens. This individual’s property is alongside Mill Race Park and nearby one of the pavilions, which presented some concern for the council. Councilwoman Amy Wagner said, “I think as long as you make it clear to her they need to be contained to a chicken coop or a fenced in area, I think it’s fine.” Councilwoman Melissa Jones asked if there are any stipulations referring to the amount of chickens a city resident is permitted to have, which City Administrator Jason Myers said there is not, it’s been handled on a case by case basis. Jones asked too that it be specified that this would only be for chickens, no other animals, and all other animals would have to be approved by an additional request. Councilman David Greenlief asked how close the property was to the pavilion and was told they join. “You don’t want any part of that,” said Greenlief, ” That’s unsanitary.” Judy suggested it could be stipulated that the housing structure be located away from the pavilion on the opposite side of the property, but Greenlief stated, “I think you’re creating a problem, I really do.” Judy responded, “Well how do you turn her down after we’ve already let four other families do it?”
Recorder Bruce Kolsun added she also shouldn’t be turned down because she has a note from a doctor stating they’re therapeutic for this resident. Wagner suggested stipulations limiting it to six chickens and requesting the individual keep the structure as far away from the park as possible, and no roosters. Wagner made that a motion stating, “What you do for one you have to do for all.” Kolsun said, “I think we’re creating a bad liability when we’ve got a doctor’s statement saying that,” before Greenlief cut in saying, “That’s irrelevant, that’s a psychological situation, it’s like picking a dog Bruce.” “I understand,” responded Kolsun, “but this is from a doctor, you can have a therapy dog only if you have it from a doctor.” He continued, “I think you’re taking away somebody’s therapy.” Judy asked, “Bruce do you want to second it?” “Well, nobody else wants to second it, I don’t know,” he responded.
Judy said she feels the attorney needs to be consulted on this matter before making a motion. Jones also suggested speaking with the Health Department as well to make sure it would be safe from that standpoint. Councilman Tim Auvil agreed that others have been granted this request in the past, but none have been bordering the park and eating facilities. Auvil made a motion to table the agenda item with a second by Kolsun. A roll call was performed with Jones, Morrison, Kolsun, and Auvil voting to table the item with Wagner and Greenlief voting against. Wagner reiterated that she feels this will be opening up the city to a potential lawsuit by not approving, but it will appear on the next meeting agenda after speaking to the attorney and health department.
Financial Administrator Danielle Sponaugle presented invoice list one for $34,077.38, which was approved unanimously, and invoice two for $321.57 with Greenlief abstaining and all others in agreement.
Myers provided budget adjustment number six to the council with explanation that the total needed to be increased by $500 due to a check received just prior to the meeting. “That means your total change will be $22,875,” stated Myers. Judy asked about the senior banner funds, which Myers announced the entire costs were covered by donations.
Employee and Committee Reports followed with Myers announcing the Mon Forest Towns Initiative sign has been set underneath the City of Parsons sign. “They are beautiful,” commented Judy. Each town and city was provided two of these signs and additional signage can be purchased for around $500.
Myers showed updated photographs of the Pulp Mill Bottom pond project progress where the banks are being elevated and sediment continuing to be removed. Options relating to where to install the bridge is being discussed as work is expected to continue for a few more weeks.
The Parsons Community Center floor is in and the trim is being installed. City Hall has been reopened, but until a door can be installed in the hallway going beyond the front office is roped off. The reopening of Wellness 24 has gone well thus far, however Sunday operating hours are being eliminated. Until the facility is able to return to 24 hours per day, the operating hours will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. until 12 p.m.
The Parks and Recreation update consisted of announcing the reopening of the parks for public use. This was effective as of Friday, June 5 to allow the city staff ample times to clean and disinfect the bathrooms. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that the Splash Park will be open at all for 2020.
Complaints of a sewage like odor have been received from residents near the Spruce Street and First Street area. Upon investigation, it was discovered that a 12 inch main sewer line was busted allowing sewage to run into the new storm drain. These issues are being addressed and repaired with hopes that the odor will subside by the end of the week. “I apologize to Amy (Wagner) and Missy (Jones) for the smell and tell your neighbors we’re sorry,” Myers said. Wagner asked if repairs are in the plan to the side streets from where the drains were installed, which Myers confirmed they will be fixed once they are done tearing up the streets for needed repairs.
The sewage extension project was discussed in a meeting earlier today with Region VII, Department of Highways, Kingsford, the contractor, and other involved parties. The pre construction requirements were a main topic, with Auvil stating, “To get the ball rolling on that project, they’ve got to order the materials now, which is going to take a little while.” Construction may not be able to begin until the end of July to ensure proper permitting and the contractor, Glenn Johnston, who initially did not get the project, has committed to other projects that are on the schedule. “We have some paperwork issues,” Myers added to the scenario that is delaying this project. The only action item on this agenda item is to approve a $5,000 invoice to be paid to Thrasher Engineering, with a motion by Auvil and a second by Councilman Kenneth Morrison.
The Parsons Economical Development Authority (PEDA) submitted a recommendation to the Parsons City Council, requesting approval of working with Thrasher to develop a master plan for the Parsons Industrial Park. This request was approved and followed with a request to add Commissioner Jon Bush to PEDA. Current officers include Rob Burns as President, Bruce Kolsun Vice President, Secretary Ray LaMora, and Treasurer Jason Myers. All board members were in agreement to approve Bush as a member on the board.
The First Street Demolition project is still ongoing and is approximately halfway through the project. More crew members were called in to assist in the demolition, though they are still on schedule and hope to be done within the next two weeks.
The fleet committee has been investigating the worth of the 1996 backhoe owned by the city and the best use of the machine. Auvil and Morrison agreed to place the backhoe up for bid with a minimum of $19,000 and right to refusal of incoming bids.
A renewal lease between the city and John and Diana DeLuca for another 24 months rent on the home for $600 per month was presented with all members in agreement. The library board also requested the reappointment of Dennis Filler to serve as a board trustee member through June 30, 2025. Auvil made the motion with a second by Jones and all in favor.
Myers read a thank you card received by the Bonner family for the flowers and prayers during the loss of their loved one. Parsons City Council will reconvene on Tuesday, June 16 at 6 p.m. at the Parsons City Hall.