By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
City Administrator Agnes “Aggie” Arnold presented the City of Parsons’ Council with the general fund revenue and budget control reports for the month of October. The report was prepared by acting Treasurer Jason Myers. According to the revenue control report the original budget was for $711,449 plus an approved revision of $291,367 equaling a revised budget of $1,002,816. The amount received thus far is $316,785.90 leaving $686,030.10 uncollected for the fiscal year.
The fiscal year runs July to July each year. Out of the revised budget of $1,002,816 there has been $260,565.17 expended in multiple departments leaving an unexpended amount of $742,250.83 of the budget. Chairwoman Melissa Jones asked Arnold to explain what the streets/transport – equipment vehicles line item was used for, and Arnold stated that fund was used for needed vehicles or repairs to vehicles in the street department. Arnold said, “Remember we bought the new truck with the plow and there was a lot of expense in that.”
Jones then asked, “Some of these things (line items in budget) have money that we have not used can we then move it to other places to use?” Mayor Dorothy Judy stated, “I think we get into trouble if we move it around.” Jones said, “That is why I am asking because like Shavers Fork, there is $5,000 in there that we have not used.” There was some discussion back and forth as to whether the money was in the general fund or was it Harman fund money. Jones said, “I would like to know if that money can be transferred somewhere else. Is that our money in our general fund or it is Harman money?” After some more discussion between council members Arnold stated she would check with Myers and give Jones an answer.
Councilman Tim Turner asked about why there was $23,450 left in the Pocket Park budget if the park was finished. Turner was informed that the pocket was not complete yet there were still things to do such as landscaping.
The William Mahan Harman Memorial Fund is for the benefit of the citizens of Parsons. Currently there is $410,494.78 allocated for projects. Those projects included items such as the Pocket Park, $33,000 for a lean-to for the public works maintenance building, $48,000 for the water metering system upgrades, $50,000 for the preliminary engineering of the water system improvements project, and $72,527.24 for the City of Parsons rainy day fund.
It is thought by some that the city receives the whole amount of the Harman fund for their disposal but that is simply not the case. The City of Parsons only receives five percent of the market value of the trust fund. On October 31, the market value of the fund was $19,045,395.05, and when it is multiplied by five percent that gives a total of $952,269.76 for the city. These monies are allocated in March of each year.
Arnold reported that she had received a letter from JH Consulting, LLC confirming the Community Rating System (CRS) renewal and the city’s continuance as a Class 8 community. The CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Over 1,500 communities participate nationwide.
In CRS communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community’s efforts that address the three goals of the program: reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property; strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP; foster comprehensive floodplain management.
With a verified 1,312 points on the CRS and a classification of Class 8, the City of Parsons is qualified for a 10 percent discount on flood insurance premiums. The verification work of this report was conducted by Myers as the CRS Coordinator and because of his work on the report Myers was able to save the city $1,089.39 off of the invoice that started in the amount of $3,000 from JH Consulting, LLC leaving a balance of $2,023.12. Future reports may not have the opportunity for this discount as Myers is the only one qualified to complete the verification report.
Eric Sharad from the Thrasher Company was present to update the council on the biggest projects currently in play for the city. Sharad shared information pertaining to the Sewer System Improvements, the Parsons Emergency Water Preparedness and Resiliency Project, and the Water Systems Improvement projects.
Sharad said, “The sewer project was submitted to the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council (IJDC) in October. It will be in front of the tech review committee this month. I believe November 30 is the date for that meeting. Then it will go in front of the IJDC council in late December. We will get more information then and move forward.
There has been a lot of movement on the Parsons/Hamrick project the last month or so. I know our DOH (Department of Highways) permit is in the mail. We had a good meeting with them. They were going back and forth on how to handle the vault. So, I said why don’t we just meet and nip this in the bud and we got it going in the direction we needed it to, so they are not an obstacle. They talked about wanting the city to purchase the property, for one dollar, that the vault is going to be on, but it would take them six months to do the paperwork.
The discussion led to let us do it under the permit and they still want us to start the process, which is good for the city, to own it. You can fence it in, and you will have grass in it forever. We submitted all the environmental correspondences a couple of weeks ago. We just got the one easement that has to be signed and to wait for the environmental review to be done.” Councilman Tim Auvil added, “One of the stipulations of the vault, since it is going to be an underground pump station, is that buffer bumpers have to be placed all the way around the vault.”
Sharad ended with the Water Systems Improvement Project by saying, “We got the PDR (Preliminary Design Review), and everything done. I was hoping to get it submitted this month but with everything coming up with the Parsons/Hamrick job we kind of prioritized that job. It was going to be too difficult to turn it in by the (November) 10, and we did not want to turn it in and have it rejected. So, that is supposed to go in on December 10 for that project and at that point it will reviewed in January.”
The meeting came to a closure with the good of the order portion and Turner thanked the city workers for the water project job they did on Memorial Drive and Councilman Bruce Kolsun thanked Arnold for coordinating and placing over 400 flags on the grave sites of veterans for Veteran’s Day at the City of Parsons Cemetery. Arnold, Stan and Hazel Dragovich, Dorothy Carr, Mistee Griffith, and her sons, Easton and Parker completed the task.
The next Parsons City Council meeting will take place on December 6, 2022, at 6 p.m. at the Parsons Community Center, 96 Parkwood Lane, Parsons. If you would like to place an item on the agenda, feel free to contact the Parsons Business Office at 304- 478-2311.