By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Citizens input and City Police reports were a large portion of the agenda for the April 16 City Council regular meeting. City Administrator and Treasurer Jason Myers lead those in attendance in The Pledge of Allegiance followed by Mayor Dorothy Judy opening with a word of prayer. All were present either via phone or by person by the end of the session lending to effective discussions and resolutions to agenda items.
Addressing citizens input, Paula Stahl and her cousin, Buddy Aikin came to the council to request support and information regarding the coordination of an Authentic Native American Pow-Wow aimed for early October. Stahl informed Aikin has recently relocated here from Delaware and said, “Since he’s been in town there has been some strong racial comments made toward Native American way and we want to turn it into something good.” Mill Race Park has already been reserved for the event that will serve as an educational and cultural event that everyone is welcome to and has already drawn interest to groups coming from out of state and potentially will have vendors. The project is still in the beginning planning stages but will be entitled “We are Still Here” to help spread the word regarding the Native Americans from the past, present, and future. Stahl and Aikin will be attending the next Parks and Recreation meeting on May 13 to share their intentions and plans with that board and will continue planning for the event. Councilwoman Amy Wagner requested events involving the school children and Councilman Tim Auvil recommended Stahl and Aikins touch base with Events Coordinator Tammy Greenlief Michael.
Invoices and financial reports were then reviewed for approval, the first payments being in the amount of $41,176.89 and the second for $107.77. The first quote was to replace one of the handhelds due to malfunctioning and becoming outdated for $2,999 and was approved. Fencing was installed at the mouth of the slough across from Dollar General and near Steel Magnolia’s facilities. The total cost for this safety necessity was $3,950 and was done with permission and support by the connecting landowner. Myers then presented a request to the council to retract the decision to pave the entire D&W Loop Lane and dedicate some of those funds to River Street which is becoming a higher priority. The water line has recently been replaced by the city and Myers stated, “That road was very bad to begin with and with all the activities we did on that road putting the water line in, we didn’t make it any better, it’s worse.” The cost to do River Street will be under $10,000. The paving on D&W Lane will still include the connection between Dollar General and Shop N’ Save and will extend to the shop and was unanimously agreed upon.
Myers requested City Police Chief T.D. Roberts to compose a purchase request that the funds were allocated toward from the Harman Fund. Councilman Tim Auvil asked, “What kind of updates do you got to do to an AR-15 for $2,100?” Patrolman N.C. Gidley informed it was for new night vision optics for the three firearms. The total purchases allocated for the new cruiser is in the amount of $15,066.00 and additional equipment, such as bullet proof vest pates, ammunition, and body cameras came to the amount of $14,387.65 for a grand total of $29,453.65. Councilman Bruce Kolsun approved the request with a second by Councilman Kenneth Morrison. Also approved was the 2019-2020 Levy Order and Rate Sheet.
Employee Reports followed starting with Gidley in regards to the city ordinance. He explained a list of Ward One and Ward Two properties of concern had been developed and to date he has made contact with approximately 60% of those on the list. “There are people starting to clean up their properties,” he stated. The property on the corner next to the Veterans Memorial has been an area of concern due to structure instability and the intentions is for this area to be demolished and cleaned up very soon. The goal of the property owner is to sell that lot and communication has begun between the owner and the Veterans Association with consideration of purchasing the lot as a future parking area for the memorial. Gidley offered a breakdown of their procedure intentions to the council in regards to cleaning up the town. The first step is a visit to the property for a visit or a notice to be left. The owner then has twenty days to show progress. If no progress is visible at the end of twenty days, a certified letter is then issued. Twenty days past receiving the letter, if no progress has been made, fines will then begin to be implemented.
The Tygart Valley Conservation District has completed the Mill Race Slough Project including hydro seeding which is already growing. The new park entrance from Rt. 219 is ready for the Department of Highways inspection though concerns arose over a potential drainage issue at the bottom of the slope. Options are already in the works for addressing this potential problem. The goal for the new entrance is to be opened in time for the Memorial Day festivities. It was also noted the Wamsley Run project is also complete with the exception of hydro seeding. The next project will be the pond cleanup efforts in Pulp Mill Bottom. Councilman Samuel Blosser also requested for the company to provide a quote for an annual maintenance plan that includes an inspection of the pond and Wamsley Run. Auvil provided a P&R report, announcing there are over 300 active members utilizing Wellness 24 on a regular basis.
Moving into Unfinished Business, Myers updated on matters pertaining to the Kingsford Sewer Extension Project. The timeline is currently as follows: designing will begin May 2019 and potentially complete by July, bid identification to be made public in September with an opening of bid date in October and an award contract date in November of 2019. The proposed start time of construction is estimated March or April of 2020.
The family owning the property sought out to be purchased for the City Industrial Park will be receiving the deeds this week to obtain all necessary signatures to move forward. The family informed they have a lease agreement with the billboards on the property that has two years remaining which will be honored with the family even after the sale is final. Once the two year agreement is finalized, any further leases will be addressed through the city. Auvil noted the urgency to secure an engineer as soon as they can once the sale is final to plot out the usable land so work can begin as soon as possible. The last topic under unfinished business was an email received by Myers from the a Thrasher Project Manager informing the city that 30% of the plans for the Corrick’s Fork Trail has been submitted and waiting for review by the WVDOH.
New Business consisted of notice of resignation of William Rothenburgh as groundskeeper at the Parsons City Cemetary, last day being Friday, April 19. A Memorandum of Understanding was received from Central West Virginia Development Association, LLC. to agree to allow a potential broadband tower to be constructed on city property. After review and discussion, concern arose regarding the lack of wording detailing liability for the tower, and council wish to discuss a ten year agreement versus twenty. Morrison moved to table this until the next meeting awaiting further information and second by Wagner. The Tucker County Development Authority is in need of a city representative due to the resignation of Wagner. None of the Council Members could fit these meetings into their schedule, however Kennetha Greenlief volunteered her services and the Mayor accepted.
The Highlands Trail Foundation submitted their annual request for sponsorship of their Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon on September 14, to which they donated $250. The final item of business under New Business was matters pertaining to a section of Sugar Maple Lane. There have been issues of people driving through this city alley though it is only grass and it is leading to ruts and issues behind the homes. A motion was made to abandon this alley running from Loughry Street to Luflin Street. This motion has to undergo three readings before this ordinance can be passed to close it.
For the Good of the Order, it was announced that the City of Parsons was selected as a Blueprint Community. An additional article will be done to cover this honor. With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned and will commence again on Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m.