By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
After The Pledge of Allegiance was recited at the Tuesday Parsons City Council meeting, Mayor Dorothy Judy opened with a prayer and sharing the councils condolences to the family of Paul Mauzy, Sr. Recorder Bruce Kolsun called the role with all members present.
With no public present, the meeting went directly to the public hearings relating to the 30 year lease agreement to place a small structure on the city property near the equipment garage with a lease amount to $8,400 per year. City Administrator and Treasurer Jason Myers explained that any lease that extends the two year term of the mayor has to be advertised and offered a public hearing. “This has already been reviewed by legal counsel and approved,” Myers explained. Councilwoman Melissa Jones asked about the location of the OEM canopy that was installed to cover the trailers in comparison to the location of the future structure by Zayo, but Myers explained it would not be contradictory. The motions were made and approved unanimously.
The second public hearing was with West Virginia Outdoors whom owns the billboard along Route 219 on the Industrial Park property. Lawrence Silbernagel was on the call and explained the renewal that changes the contract to list the city as the property owners along with including the requested language relating to the future entrance of the park. If the sign changes, renegotiation will have to take place. Jones asked about the stipulation of other signage not being permitted to be placed within proximity of the billboard and questioned if this would include city signage. Silbergnagel said city signage should not be an issue; it would be that of commercial advertisement signage. A motion was made by Councilman David Greenlief with a second by Kolsun and unanimous agreement.
Judy fast forwarded to unfinished business on the topic of the Parsons Sewage Extension Project with two Thrasher representatives, Eleni Brick and Randy Watson, on the call. Brick began, “As you all know, we had our bid opening and our lowest apparent bidder was Brian Vandevender Contracting.” A letter was sent to the company detailing what documents needed sent to Thrasher within a specific timeframe, which Brick stated, “They were not able to get that documentation to us on time and we have worked tirelessly if I may say for the past week and a half exhausting all of our efforts in order to get their performance and payment bond which is the most important document that we need in order to sign our pre-con and start the project because it holds them accountable if anything were to happen with their materials, or if they were to run into something, or if heaven forbid they go belly up.” Without this documentation, the project cannot move forward with the bid awarded to this company. Because of this, Brick said, “We are going to recommend moving forward with Glenn Johnston Incorporated, which was the second lowest bidder with their base bid of $516,188.” With this company not being the lowest, they were not able to include the additive alternate in order to maintain the five percent contingency that is needed. The additive alternate was set to install the E1 grinder pump station, which was estimated at $25,993, though Brick feels the construction contingency may not be used much if at all leaving a good possibility this could be included toward the end of the project once it is determined what funds remain.
There was another unforeseen expense emerge relating to the sewage extension project that Watson explained to the council. “The DOH (Department of Highways) fees for this project will be $22,000 and some odd dollars,” announced Watson. There will be a $3.37 per linier foot charge to put a two inch line in the area of the trails where there is currently no line. A water line would only cost 84 cents per foot, but due to what is involved with a sewage line it has a higher fee. Thrasher and Myers tried negotiating this fee with the DOH to no prevail. “What I suggest that we do is, let’s try to not pay the DOH fees on this job until we see what the final number is because if the final number is lower than what we had estimated it be in footage, you will get that amount of credit back from them,” said Watson. “So if we wait until it’s over and pay it, it would be better,” he said. Auvil asked if this would delay moving forward with the project, with Watson responding, “It happens every job that we do, they say we want paid before you start construction.” He said he knows the contractor will be off that right of way quickly and intends to move forward unless the DOH refuses to allow the contractor on the property.
Brick added to the conversation, “Even though it was missed putting the DOH fee within the budget, where Glenn Johnston came in with their base bid, and then adding their five percent construction contingency on top of that, equals around $542,000.” She continued, “On the engineers construction cost estimate, we allotted $564,000 for construction, so that gives us $22,000 that will go from estimated construction cost into the construction contingencies.” This would allow enough to cover the DOH fees if need be up from. To move forward, a motion was needed to award the bid to Johnston which was made by Auvil and a second made by Kolsun.
Moving forward with the meeting, the minutes from May 5 were approved as presented. An invoice was presented by Financial Administrator Danielle Sponaugle in the amount of $39,372.92 which approved unanimously. Myers presented a revenue and control report for both the general fund and coal severance tax along with an updated project list and fund allocations for each. A request from the Parsons Volunteer Fire Department was made to the city to withdrawal $14,000 from the fire fee account to pay on the 2016 rescue truck. Typically this would have been covered by the income from the carnival fundraiser, however due to the cancellation it was requested from this account. Auvil made the motion with a second by Jones and all members in agreement except Councilman Kenneth Morrison abstaining from the vote.
Committee and employee reports began with Parsons City Police Chief J.E. Kopec stating that all is going well with patrol and the officers have been participating in the weekly COVID-19 meetings. Myers announced the drop inlets on Spruce Street are being installed which should conclude the project by the end of the week. It was suggested that the streets and sidewalks committee consider paving of that area, though it is an excessively wide street. Gravelling around the drop inlets is not recommended as it will result in filling the drains. Jones requested the areas where the sewage lines are collapsing causing a divot in the road be addressed prior to paving so as to not have to tear up a newly asphalted roadway.
At the time of the meeting, Tygarts Valley Conservation District was approximately at the center of the Pulp Mill Bottom pond working on removing debris and sediment. They have been providing two excavator operators and the city is providing a third as staff allows. The goal is to have the dredging complete by the end of next week. Myers informed council that a gentleman contacted the city office offering to donate a 50 foot arched, steel bridge for the pond. “It’s a beautiful bridge that was taken from a park in Maryland,” Myers said. The individual offered to deliver the bridge to Performance Auto Body where Warren Judy offered to make the necessary, minor repairs to the structure, and then the donating gentleman will then transport the bridge to the pond. Myers discussed the bridge with the Conservation District who agreed to assist the city crew install the bridge.
Given the bridge is only 50 feet, it is being considered to include a plateau within the pond for it to extend to. “Now with this we are going to incur a little bit of additional cost because we’re going to need concrete to do the abutments for this, we may have to secure a crane,” Myers said. TVCD told Myers they believe both of their excavators may be able to do the job, however it is something for council to bear in mind. He stated that money is available in the rental account that is collected from the rental home and intended to maintain the home as well as the project site, which contains approximately $5,000. Myers extended his gratitude to Scott and Ashton Lycliter who has been catching additional fish that were not previously removed and relocating them to the golf course pond. That pond is also a catch a release fishing area.
Auvil asked if the fire department has been contacted to assist with the refilling of the pond, which Myers responded Chief Kevin White has not been contacted yet. Auvil also asked if it was decided how aeration will be addressed and if any other options were discussed other than a water wheel. Myers said that a combination of the water from the Water Plant Road and near the Harper resident should provide ample water flow to provide adequate movement.
Myers continued stating that the Community Center drywall is complete and the vinyl floor installation has begun. The electrician is expected later in the week to install lighting and the city crews will begin early next month on the decks.
Over 900 letters were mailed to city residents to encourage early voting by mail for the June 9 election. Several were returned due to relocation of former residents, which has aided in the cleanup of the municipality voters register. Those wishing to participate in early voting via mail can expect those ballots next week. Precinct one will be at the Courthouse and precinct two at St. John’s Church.
The First Street demolition project is underway, with Myers saying, “They’re having to tear that down by hand because of the way it’s structured and they have that common wall.” As a result, this building will come down slightly slower than the building on Main Street. Morrison questioned the wall that joins the next door building that now has a gap in it, asking if it will need repaired. Myers will evaluate the situation with the contractor to determine the need.
Morrison offered a suggestion to install a door just passt the main office as you enter the Parsons City Building to discourage public access to that portion of the building. After brief discussion, it was decided a double door would be installed that could be closed at employee discretion. A motion was not needed if the cost is less than $1,500, in which case Mayor Judy can approve the transaction.
The Parsons Industrial Park presented next on the agenda with Myers announcing interviews are being conducted tomorrow. Members for the Parsons Economical Board will be presented at the next council meeting for approval as well.
The 1996 backhoe followed, with Auvil stating he personally felt it should be sold to recoup some of the costs associated with purchasing the newer model. It was formerly suggested to provide the piece of equipment to the Parks and Recreation Board, but it was noted they could use one of the city’s when needed. Auvil and Morrison, members of the fleet committee, will research what the backhoe is worth to decide on a minimum bid before putting it out for public bid. This item was then tabled until it is further researched.
The spring cleanup event has been rescheduled for June 6 through the 19 though limits will be set. “We have the right to refuse,” stated Myers. Jones made the motion with a second by Kolsun and agreement by all.
The ATV and UTV rules and regulations followed on the agenda with reiterations on what is permitted and what is not. A separate, in depth press release is also published to highlight a lot of the frequently asked questions pertaining to the use of these vehicles within city limits.
Hoy “Pete” Roy submitted his letter of resignation as an employee of the City of Parsons. With regret, Jones made a motion to accept his resignation with a second by Morrison and all in agreement. The city also received a notice of resignation from Christopher A. Alderman and Roberta Alderman, which was also approved unanimously.
It was then suggested to hire William R. Rothenburgh as a seasonal groundskeeper for the city. Kolsun made a motion to approve with a second by Greenlief and all in agreement.
Myers provided a letter with the most recent updates relating to COVID-19 within the county for informational purposes to the council. This was the last item on the agenda for this meeting of the Parsons City Council, which will reconvene on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 6 p.m.