By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Eleni Brick with The Thrasher Group presented the Parsons City Council with an update on the progress of the Parsons Sewer Extension Project, stating, “It is going very well.” At the time of the meeting, all of the gravity sewer lines and manholes were installed, the tie in near the baseball field is complete, and the force main is installed up to Kingsford Manufacturing’s entrance along with the road bore. The projected completion date for the project is November 9, 2020. “So they have made a good amount of progress,” she stated.
A request for $104,294.71 was submitted for costs associated with the Parsons Sewer Extension Project which was approved with a motion by Auvil and a second from Recorder Bruce Kolsun.
The minutes from September 15 were approved with a motion by Councilman Tim Auvil and a second from Councilman Kenneth Morrison.
Finance Director Danielle Sponaugle presented the council with the first invoice list for $120,514.52, which was approved with a motion by Auvil and a second by Councilwoman Melissa Jones. The second invoice was for $390.66, approved with Councilman David Greenlief abstaining.
City Administrator Jason Myers provided the monthly financial report for August to the council along with the revenue control report for both the general and coal severance fund. He then submitted a request for revisions to the approved budget that was approved by all council members.
An estimate was received by Rob’s Locksmith Service to install a keypad locking system in the amount of $1,245.25. This will be placed on the new, recently installed door within the City Building to limit public access due to COVID-19. The door and the lock mechanism will be submitted for reimbursement through the CARES Act. A motion was made by Morrison and a second by Jones with all in favor.
Requests have been made to add additional trash receptacles in areas where an increase in the trash has been noted. A quote was reviewed by the council for two receptacles for $1,705, which would match others throughout the city. Morrison and Auvil made a motion with a unanimous agreement by all council.
John “Red” Lipscomb was at the meeting and stated that the raw water intake malfunctioned and while being repaired, the number two pump began experiencing issues as well. Lipscomb recommends replacing the wires to prevent electrical issues from reoccurring. He also said a lot of the components at the water intake are becoming aged and obsolete and suggests working towards updating the units be considered in the near future.
Lipscomb also explained the city employees are having issues finding the sewer line near Fitness Lane. He said if a future planned structure is erected over the top of that line, it will be the responsibility of the new owners to pay for the relocation of that line.
Lipscomb was approached by Warren Judy on behalf of Shaver Fork Properties expressing a desire to construct several more cabins along the river in the Pulp Mill Bottom area. Lipscomb told the council that would require extending their water line to install the adequate number of taps needed, which in return would generate more revenue for the city.
Fairfax Ready Mix Plant contacted Lipscomb on moving forward with their plant which also requires a waterline extension project. The city will perform the work and Fairfax will be billed for the project.
Councilwoman Amy Wagner asked if the waterline extension to the future cabins would be paid for by the property owners considering it is going to be paid for by Fairfax. Myers replied that they would be responsible for paying for the taps, but the PSC rules on that behalf.
Lipscomb also stated that the vac truck had to be taken to Pennsylvania for much needed repair. Concerns have arisen with the inability to repair certain areas of the 1996 model truck if need be. “The town of Thomas said when we decide to upgrade with this new project, they want first dibs on buying that truck,” Lipscomb said. He added that the crew only has one more area on Spruce Street to dig up to repair the sink holes to complete that project. The Memorial Drive project has been postponed due to lack of employees.
Councilman Michael Matlick questioned why additional workers can’t be hired and fears the workers are being overworked. Wagner agreed, stating, “I think some of our guys are getting stretched way too thin.” Mayor Dorothy Judy suggests the Personnel Committee meet with Myers to discuss potential hires from a financial standpoint.
Auvil brought up the piece of equipment that was briefly mentioned at the last meeting that would be used to mow several steep grades safely throughout the city. He showed the council the machine which has up to 35 different attachments that can be purchased for it. The total with the hydraulic kit and shipping is approximately $25,000. “So this is definitely going to be on the list come March,” Auvil proclaimed.
Myers has been following the progress of the Harman Fund and how the stock markets have been affecting the 2021 withdrawal amount. “As of August 31, we had $931,834.09, at the end of September, we went down to $915,111.58,” he announced.
The new expression swings have been installed at Mill Race Park and the ice rink has been dismantled and put into storage. Basketball court equipment is in the process of being ordered to place on the concrete pad where the rink formerly was. The internet service at the Community Center has been installed and rental reservations are now being accepted.
The drainage project of the baseball field has been completed including new dirt for the infield along with new bases. “Rocky Corcoran did an exceptional job,” stated Myers. Tree trimming has been going on throughout the city and the diesel fuel tanks have been drained and cleaned.
The city garbage truck has been experiencing more issues, but W.Va. Paving believes they found the issue and made the necessary repairs. They advised Myers to replace the 2017 model truck as soon as possible due to known issues within that series. “It’s already cost us $8,000 in two months,” Myers added. There is an active recall on that vehicle that may offer a buy back option for the truck.
A list of delinquent accounts was provided to the council which indicated 77 final notices processed on September 25; 39 will be filed with Magistrate Court, eight set up a payment plan, 10 are waiting to file at the County Clerk’s Office, five were returned as undeliverable, two are awaiting address verification, seven paid in full, and six were classified as write offs. Nine additional final notices were set to be processed on October 7. The approximate amount owed within these past due bills is $27,000. “That’s over 10 years though,” explained Myers, “that’s really not bad.”
This led to a discussion about current rates within the municipality and where they compare to other counties across the state. Currently, Parsons is 18 from the bottom as the lowest rates statewide out of over 200 water systems. For the first bulk pickup in Parsons, approximately a dozen customers participated by calling in ahead of time to schedule the retrieval of their qualified items. “It actually went pretty good,” Myers stated.
The Blueprint Community group worked on a brochure that will be on the printer soon. Approximately 80 Hero Banners have been purchased, though the city doesn’t have that many poles. The banners will be displayed throughout the streets and parks and some will be doubled. They are in the proofing stages with a goal to be put up by the end of October. Building permits have been received from Fairfax and St. George Medical Clinic which have been approved pending elevation inspection. Myers discussed the signs that are being supplied by the Tucker County Cultural District and where they will be placed.
The Mills Group has scheduled a virtual meeting with the council to offer design options that have been developed for the pocket park. Wagner asked for clarification on the pocket park because she thought the goal was to sell that property to recoup the demolition costs. Myers responded, “That’s what the plan was but they saw fit to do this.” “So we’re just going to eat all that money it cost us to tear down (the building) for another park?” Wagner asked. “That was Harman money,” Auvil added. Wagner said that the sale of the property would have paid for the cost to demolish the old building, though Auvil stated, “Probably not.” Councilwoman Melissa Jones asked about the plans for the other property where the former P & C Furniture Store sat, though Auvil said no decisions have been made at this time. Jones stated that decisions need to be made regarding that property along with the ones owned by the city in Porterwood.
After further consideration of making Sunnyside Lane a one way street, it became evident that it was more convenient for the south side of the street to remain a two way street. Auvil made the motion to return Sunnyside Lane to a two lane street with a second from Jones.
A rental agreement application was provided to the council for review and approval. Attorney Pat Nichols will be reviewing the document prior to being utilized. Jones made the motion pending Nichols approval with Morrison making a second. All were in favor of the motion.
Jones and Morrison also motioned to adopt the September 2020 version of the local government purchasing cards policies and procedures. A lease agreement between the City of Parsons Wellness 24 Fitness Center and the Elkins Physical Therapy Service, Inc. was reviewed and approved as presented.
Mayor Judy signed a proclamation to adopt November 22 through 28 as Christian Heritage Week with the council in unanimous agreement. The October 2020 version of the Tucker County Historical Society was presented to the council along with an invitation to the Davis Trail Head and Kiosk Dedication on Tuesday, October 13 at 5 p.m.
The Parsons City Council will meet on Tuesday, October 20 at 6 p.m.