By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
During the regular City of Parsons council meeting, the council approved a $500 reward for the prosecution and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the vandalism of a city park, continued discussion of a request submitted by GS Millwork, and approved the purchase of a new mower.
Police Chief Kevin Keplinger updated the council on the recent string of vandalism in the city. “The Homewood destruction of property investigation has been completed,” Keplinger said. “We’re finished with our interviews and our meetings. It’s going to culminate in the charging of one adult and two juveniles for multiple charges.”
Chief Keplinger also updated the city on the remaining destruction of property investigation.“The River City Park destruction of property charge, we have pretty well exhausted leads on that,” Keplinger said. “Area canvas, neighbor canvas, there was a mention of a potential consideration of a reward. I am in favor of that…If we’re going to offer a reward, it needs to be paid out upon prosecution and conviction.”
Council Member, Timothy L. Auvil stated that the estimate to fix the destruction would cost the city half of what they had already put into the area. “We got an estimate because of all the destruction that was done to the hydroseeding,” Auvil said. “It’s going to cost us $2500 to reseed that. That is literally half of what we paid to have it done. That’s considerable.” Keplinger informed the council that due to the estimate, felony charges could be levied in the case. “That is considerable and it also rises to the level of a felony,” Keplinger said. “Any destruction of property over $2500.”
Auvil agreed to the idea of a reward in the case. “I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to offer a $500 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the parties involved in that destruction. We need to nip this vandalism stuff. We did a real good job a while back. It was going on with the parks and other areas and then we got the taskforce out there.”Auvil also said the public was also instrumental in the effort to combat vandalism alongside the taskforce. “It really diminished when they had some eyes on the place,” Auvil said. “And just the general public besides the taskforce, also participating. I was out there after one of the concerts and this lady comes driving by and ‘Oh, I just wanted to know who you were.’” The council will be using $500 from the pond project to pay for the reward.
The council also continued their discussion of a request from GS Millwork LLC. The council said they have not been able to contact the FEMA lease property owners about the lots that the request includes.
“We signed a lease with them on January first,” Auvil said. “So legally, we are bound to honor the lease, unless there’s a particular legal reason why we could terminate, but that has not happened. So, it would be a voluntary thing.” City Administrator Agnes Arnold informed the council that the city could terminate the lease with a 30 day notice due to a provision in the document. “There is something in there that says you have to give them a 30 day notice,” Arnold said. “Either party can withdraw with a 30-day notice.” Auvil said, “I don’t want to start a bad precedent either. I’d rather see this go voluntarily with everybody in a cooperative manner to assist a business.”
Other items of discussion on the issue included the need to protect the Butternut tree in the area since it is endangered and designated the largest in the state. “The only way with GS Millworks to work this out is if you leave a buffer zone around the tree to where there’s a parking area,” Auvil said. “You protect the tree, and people can still come and go in that picnic area and everything else around the tree. The guys at Millworks were very open to that idea.” Council Member Melissa Jones expressed concerns over the request by GS Millworks LLC. “I, myself, would still like to see some kind of a notification that they’ve contacted FEMA about all this construction and everything,” Jones said.
“When we met with them this last time,” Auvil said, “…we mentioned all that to them that they’d have to get hydrologists in there to do the study.” Jones also asked about whether the proposed sites would need to be surveyed. Auvil said the entire site would need to be surveyed. “So would they be willing to pay half of the survey on the lot that they are going to use for parking?” Jones asked. “In my opinion they need to pay for all the survey,” Auvil said. “This is their request. I don’t think the city should be paying anything as far as that’s concerned.”
With concerns to the lots in question with the request, Auvil said there were legal issues that would keep the city from outright selling the land in question. “That would have to be a lease in itself,” Auvil said. “The city isn’t allowed to just outright sell property anymore. As we found out with that backhoe, anything over a thousand bucks has to go out on this state…gov deals or whatever and you’d be required to pretty much accept the highest bid. So, anyone could just put a bid in there, so it would have to be a lease, a long-term lease. There’s a lot of legal details.” The council moved to continue the issue of GS Millwork’s request to the next session.
In other business, a new Kubota BX 2680 with a 60” mid mower in the amount of $12,500 from PARCS Salem Kubota was unanimously approved by the council in regular session. The mower will be going to the Parks Department.
The City of Parsons City Council will next meet May 16 at 6 p.m. at the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau
Municipal Building at 341 Second Street in Parsons.
he captions are:
DSC8553: The Butternut Tree located in the area affected by the request under ongoing discussion by the Parsons City Council. The tree is endangered and is designated as the largest Butternut Tree in the state.
8556: The Parsons Butternut Tree is located in an area that is central to a request by GS Millwork LLC to the City of Parsons.
8561: A request by GS Millwork LLC is under continued discussion by the City of Parsons.
8567: Destruction of property in the River City area is the subject of a $500 reward approved by the City of Parsons.
8575/8599: The destruction of property near the river in River City has resulted in the City of Parsons offering a $500 reward.
The City of Parsons City Council will next meet May 16th at 6pm at the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau Municipal Building at 341 Second Street in Parsons.