The majority of last week’s Parsons City Council was dedicated to the annual disbursement of money from the William Mahan Harman Memorial Fund. The funds available for 2018 were $980,000.
The Parsons Cemetery Committee, Parks and Recreation Commission, the Five Rivers Public Library Board, and the Benefits of the Citizens of Parsons Committee presented contribution applications for the William Mahan Harman Memorial Fund.
The Cemetery Committee requested $83,631. The Committee is saving money to buy additional land. “We are running out of space up there,” City Administrator Jason Myers said. “We did pick up several hundred spaces, so we’re not critical like we were last year.”
The Parks and Recreation Commission estimated needing $387,000 for the next fiscal year and requested $231,660 from the Harman Fund.
The Commission intends to repair the basketball court at Mill Race Park this year. A portion of the funds will go toward providing updates to the interior and exterior of the Wellness 24 building.
County Planner Dennis Filler spoke on behalf of the Five Rivers Public Library Board. “A big change that is different from prior years is that library employees are now insured by PEIA,” Filler said. The Five Rivers Library employs three full time employees and one part time employee. The library board requested $130,000.
The Benefits of the Citizens of Parsons Committee oversees financial matters concerning the water and sewer departments, the parks, street and sidewalk upkeep, the Parsons Volunteer Fire Department, the police department, fairs and festivals, and county equipment. The committee requested $684,538.
The members of the council all read their distribution proposals. The proposals were averaged to determine the amount each applicant would receive.
The Cemetery Committee received $74,000. Parks and Recreation received $219,000. The library received $90,000. The Benefits of the Citizens Committee received $597,000.
The current value of the Harman fund is $19,619,028.
The Harman Fund began in 2004 when the money William Mahan Harman set aside in 1971 for his hometown of Parsons became eligible for public use. The fund totaled $13.6 million.
Harman made his name as a courtroom lawyer and the president of First National Bank of Parsons. Harman’s will indicated that the interest income be allocated to the cemetery, two parks, the library, and the citizens of Parsons.