Parsons City Parks Receive Updates

By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
            The basketball players of River City Park and the children who frequent Mill Race Park have something to look forward to on their next visits.  The basketball court has been sealed by city staff and lined according to regulation sizing as a donation from Jake Kopec, owner of Brite Stripe.  The new playground equipment has also been delivered to Mill Race Park and the supervised installation will be taking place within the next week.
            Warren Judy and Brandon Wilfong, co-owners of Shavers Fork Properties, were present at the meeting with a request for the council.  Mayor Dorothy Judy excused herself from the meeting to prohibit conflict of interest.  W. Judy and Wilfong were requesting a transfer of property between their company and the city which would offer parking for the monument in exchange for a section of a similar size that would allow the construction of additional riverfront cabins.  City Administrator Jason Myers spoke with Attorney Pat Nichols who stated that since the property values were less than $1,000 and it is a near equal exchange, this would be a legal action if the council voted in favor.  Councilwoman Amy Wagner questioned if the neighbors were comfortable with the exchange due to the right of way, which Parsons City Police Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec went to inquire.  Upon return, the neighboring resident confirmed she had no issues with the exchange.  Councilman David Greenlief made a motion to approve Shaver’s Fork Properties request with a second by Councilwoman Melissa Jones and all were in favor.
 The minutes from the June 16 Board of Canvassers meeting as well as from the regular City Council meeting on July 7 were approved by a motion from Councilman Kenneth Morrison and a second by Jones.
            Financial Administrator Danielle Sponaugle presented invoice list one to the council in the amount of $46,126.23 for approval.  Councilman Tim Auvil made the motion to approve the invoice as presented with a second by Recorder Bruce Kolsun.
            City Administrator and Treasurer Jason Myers explained the quotes for consideration including one from Energy Fence Company for $2,650.  This would be to install a fence around the steep embankment of the former P and C Furniture Store as well as to extend the handrail that was installed short of the bottom from the Tucker Manor to Route 72.  Auvil made the motion to approve the quote with a second by Morrison.
            Myers also provided the June financial report, adding, “We’re just hanging on by a pulse on sewer.”  Discussion began prior to the pandemic to evaluate the water and sewage rates within the city limits, but has since been postponed.  In addition, customers could not be disconnected within the last three months which has led to a large amount of overages due to the city.  Those residents have until August 4 to pay their bills at which time the city can disconnect their services.  Kolsun made a motion to accept the financial report with Auvil making a second.
            The general and coal severance fund revenue control reports were provided that finalized fiscal year 2020 for the city.  A request for revisions to the approved budgets were also made available to show what funds are available in each line item.
            Employee and committee reports began with Parsons City Police Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec sharing concerns he has received regarding speeding on two roads near the Genesis Center, including Blumes Lane.  A speedbump was considered for the area, though the council felt additional speed limit signs would be the best option.
            Auvil read a report provided by Chief Water/Wastewater Operator John “Red” Lipscomb which announced the raw water pump is back in operation.  The soft starts are becoming obsolete and, though working now, if they malfunction it presents a problem for the plant.  The backwash pumps are also having electrical issues, which Lipscomb requests a technician be contacted to look at these units.
            Various water lines have been repaired in the last couple months with an estimated water saved per month of approximately 1.5 million gallons.  The workers are having issues with the loggers, though fortunately money was set aside during the Harman Fund meeting to upgrade these units.  This was put on hold when the virus mandated a shutdown, therefore a new quote will be sought to pursue.  The Memorial Drive water line replacement is also planned to begin around the end of August and could take a couple months to complete since they are short staffed.  Lipscomb’s report also stated that the backwash pond will need to be cleaned out within the next year due to filling up with sludge.
            Within the sewage department, the sewer pond sludge depth is due to be measured and bacteria stops will be installed where needed.  The fresh water tanks on the vac truck are leaking as well as some hydraulic hoses.  It was discussed to include the vac truck into the sewage upgrade project, which everyone agreed would be the best option.  A saw is needed to cut through a 12 inch pipe and a quote will be sought.
            Issues are still being caused by the flushing of wipes and female products, leading to weekly backups and clogs in the sewage lines.  It is asked that residents please refrain from flushing these items to help prevent sewage line issues.
            Myers moved into his report stating that the bridge for the Pulp Mill Bottom pond has been dismantled and prepared for repairs.  The new steel has been ordered and is set to be delivered.  The goal is to have the Tygarts Valley Conservation District finish the pond and install the bridge abutments.  The volunteers working on the project will then paint and make the necessary repairs before a crane is brought in to set the structure.
            The Community Center renovations are still underway with a handicap accessible ramp recently installed, the side porch removed, kitchen counters installed, and new water lines in place.  A new janitorial position has been filled through a community action program, which is done at no cost to the city.
            Myers attended the Solid Waste Authority meeting to become better informed regarding the recent rate increase at the landfill.  The Public Service Commission has recently approved a rate increase from $47.50 to $53.30 per ton, which went into effect July 1.  “We can do an emergency rate increase which means our rate will go into effect the fifteenth of next month,” Myers stated.  A proposed rate sheet will be presented to the council at their next meeting to be voted upon.  “We haven’t raised our rate since 2008,” he added.
            Discussion commenced on where to place the signs that are being provided through the Mon Forest Towns Initiative and the Cultural District.  Sponaugle has been continuing to work on reimbursements from the Cares Act, which she has received approximately $1,600 to date.
            Unfinished business included an update from Myers pertaining to the Parsons Sewer Extension Project.  Equipment is being brought in and being staged in Pulp Mill Bottoms with a starting goal of August.  There were no updates pertaining to the Parsons Industrial Park other than a goal to utilize every acre of the land.
            New business began with the announcement that a schedule is needed to be posted for the baseball field at River City Park to make everyone aware of games and events.
            Sunnyside Lane was recently made a one way street, however with church returning to session, it has become evident that the flow of traffic needed altered.  After much discussion, the council voted unanimously to make Sunnyside Lane one way from First Street travelling north to Second Street.  Auvil and Morrison made a motion with the remaining council in unanimous agreement.
            The agenda listed the consideration of hiring a new sanitation worker for the City of Parsons, which the Personnel Committee submitted a recommendation for.  Four applications were received with three, qualified candidates appearing for their interviews.  It was then recommended to hire Anthony K DiBartolomeo as a part time sanitation worker.
            The July 2020, volume 23 of the Tucker County Journal from the Tucker County Historical Society was received by the council as a correspondence.  This concluded the meeting of the Parsons City Council. The Council will gather again on Tuesday, August 4 at 6 p.m.  at the Parsons City Hall.

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