March 21 marked the annual meeting of the Parsons City Council to discuss and distribute the interest gained from the William Mahan Harman Memorial Fund. Acting Mayor Bruce Kolsun began the meeting with public comment from Belva Dilly. She inquired about the city’s annual spring cleanup and if it was on again for this year. Contact is being made with the Solid Waste Authority to communicate getting that scheduled. Dilly then asked if the ordinance for keeping lawns mowed and tidy was going to be enforced this year because, “we’ve got some places that are looking really bad.” It was stated the Code Enforcement Officer has been making rounds to address these issues and have been sending letters to those in violation. City Police Chief Kevin Keplinger added that any concerns could be directed to him and he would inform the Code Enforcement Officer so he could look into the matter.
Moving into the bulk of the meeting, Councilman David Greenlief had asked Councilwoman Melissa Jones to present the Harman Fund Application on behalf of the Parsons City Cemetery Committee. Jones stated they were requesting $90,127 from the allocation. “The needed funds for the project we have is $253,900, the funds from the general fund that we currently have is $114,578, and left from the Harman Fund is $40,095, leaving a total of $90,127 needed.” Jones explained this project is for graves, payroll, administration, utilities, maintenance and repair of grounds, and equipment to name a few. The Committee is also needing to purchase land to expand the cemetery as well as phase one of the mapping project to determine which loved one is buried in each plot in the older burial sites. The projected operating budget from March 1, 2023 through the end of February in 2024 is $253,900.
Councilman Timothy Auvil moved into the request from the Parsons Parks and Recreation Commission. “Parks is requesting, with an estimated budget of $491,356, plus estimated revenues and funds within the Wellness Center, Wellness 24, and the parks, once you reduce those two, our request would be $308,000 even,” Auvil began. He provided a breakdown of their budget that displayed the allocation for each area of the expenses with the Parks Commission, which includes needed maintenance done to Wellness 24, payments towards the mower, upgrades and repair to park restrooms, parking lot renovations. Auvil explained there are some funds in their account for the parking lots, but due to the increase in materials and the rise in asphalt by 20%, additional funds are needed to complete these projects. “There’s also $4,000 in there for replacing the two swing sets by Pavilion 4 near the tennis court, and also $5,000 in addition to $5,000 already in there, for the splash park acid room upgrades and installation,” he added.
The Five Rivers Public Library Board, represented by Dennis Filler, presented their request to the Council next. “So, our request is for $137,500, the biggest chunk in there is for our personal services costs, we employ four individuals, three being full time, one being part time,” he began. The biggest improvement goal for the library is replacing the carpeting, and completing the digitizing of the old Advocates to preserve the Tucker County history as it was reported, along with provide additional programming for the community of all ages.
The final application made for request of funds was for the Benefit of the Citizens of Parsons Committee, which Kolsun presented to the council. He went through the line items and listed the amounts needed for each project or department. This includes the Water Department, Streets Department for paving and street signs, pond restoration project in Pulp Mill Bottom, annual PVFD equipment fund appropriation, Parsons Police Department, Tucker County Youth Basketball, and Fairs and Festivals to name a few. This brought the grand total for the request to $456,200.
Each council member went through the requests and proposed their allocations to each line item to equal the total distribution amount of $969,789.86. After Auvil, Councilwoman Kathy DiBacco, Greenlief, Councilman James “Sam” Humphrey, and Jones, shared their allocation proposals, ending with Councilman Timothy Turner. Prior to beginning, he wished to make a statement. “I have a copy of Louise Harman’s contesting of the will that her husband had made, and on Section D, ‘any remaining income is to be used for the benefit of the citizens of Parsons,’ and I believe that we’re leaning very heavily on the benefit of the citizens to pay payments, and I don’t believe that’s the way I read it in the will,” Turner said. He then went through his proposed allocations to be taken into consideration.
Averages were taken to distribute the funds as follows: Parsons City Cemetery committee, $89,000 of the requested $90,127, Parsons Parks and Recreation Commission, $301,000 of the requested $308,000, Five Rivers Public Library Board, $119,000 of the requested $137,522, and the Benefit of the Citizens of Parsons Committee, $460,789.86, which is an additional $4,589.86 from their requested $456,200. DiBacco made a motion to approve the allocation as presented with a second from Jones, and all were in favor.
Minutes from the March 7 meeting were approved as well as the invoice list presented by City Administrator, Agnes Arnold. A quote from Zetts Fish Hatchery to stock the pond with a variety of fish in the amount of $1,775 was passed unanimously. Acting Treasurer Jason Myers brought forth the levy estimate for the upcoming fiscal year for the Council to become aware of, carrying a unanimous in favor vote.
The Personnel Committee met and have decided to post the position for a Sanitation Equipment Operator, which Arnold will be posting soon. CDL’s with a tanker endorsement will be preferred for this position. Council went into an executive session to discuss the recommendation for the city treasurer position. Upon returning to public session, Dibacco motioned to hire Quinnlan Buckley as the full-time city treasurer with a salary of $42,000, with a second from Humphrey. Turner, DiBacco, Jones, and Humphrey voted in favor with Auvil and Greenlief opposing. Motion carried.
The Parsons City Council will meet again on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 6 p.m.