By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Randy Watson from Thrasher Engineering was present during the City of Parsons Council meeting to update council members on the nine million dollars’ worth of projects currently in progress for the city. The Parsons and Hamrick PSD emergency interconnection, the Parsons sanitary sewer system improvements, and Parsons water system improvements are the projects Thrasher has been inching closer to completion for quite some time.
Watson reported that the Parsons and Hamrick PSD emergency interconnection project is progressing. Thrasher is working towards bid authorizations by submitting the necessary WVDOH permits, finalizing easements acquisitions, and submitting needed documents to West Virginia Development Office for review of bid authorization documents that includes preparing a service area map as request by West Virginia Public Service Commission.
Funding applications with preliminary engineering report that reflects additional project areas and Earmark Funds for the sewer system improvements project were submitted on October 10. An earmark is congressional funding for a specific local project. Other funding considered for this project are the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loan ($990,000) and grants ($1.5 million), the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council (WVIJDC) grant ($500,000), and Earmark Fund ($1.6 million), and funding from the City of Parsons ($50,000). The total cost to this project will reach $4.6 million and will most likely not start for another year to year and a half from now.
According to https://dep.wv.gov, “The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program is a funding program to address water quality problems through wastewater facility construction, upgrades, or expansions. The program is charged with general oversight, fiscal management and administrative compliance review of local governmental entities that receive funds. This section provides information and guidance on what administrative actions are needed to process a loan through the program. When a community has been recommended by the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council to seek the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program for financial assistance, that community will be contacted by one of the financial managers.”
Enacted in 1994 by the West Virginia Legislature, The West Virginia Infrastructure & Jobs Development Council (WVIJDC) was created to be West Virginia’s funding clearinghouse for water and wastewater projects.
Watson reported that the West Virginia Drinking Water Treatment Revolving Fund (DWTRF) application has been submitted for the water system improvements project. Thrasher estimates that construction on this project will cost $2,860,000 with a total estimated cost of $3.7 million. Thrasher is working with accountant to determine the schedule of submission to the WVIJDC. Currently 75 percent of this project is completed.
according to https://oehs.wvdhhr.org, “West Virginia State Code 16-13C establishes the Department of Health & Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health (BPH) the authority for administering the DWTRF that will provide financial assistance to public water systems to finance the cost of eligible infrastructure improvements needed to comply with the requirements of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and to protect public health. The fund established procedures and standards for project eligibility in accordance with the requirements of Federal and State law including the guidance from the EPA. The fund is intended to continue in perpetuity from loan repayments and administrative fees.
Typical DWTRF projects include water treatment plant upgrades, distribution and storage upgrades, and extensions of existing systems. Projects solely for economic growth, recreational and commercial facilities, or projects solely for fire protection are not eligible for DWTRF assistance.”
All three projects have an estimated cost of $9 million with the city having to borrow an estimated $990,000 for project completions.
Parsons Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Kevin White, presented the council with two requests for withdrawals from fund allocations for the purpose of supplementing their fire truck fund. The first request was $36,000 from the Harman Fund account that was started in 2014 and the second was $10,000 from the Fire Service Contribution Fund. The Fire Service Contribution Fund is set up to pay other items such as insurance for the fire department that runs about $32,000 a year.
In the letter of request of funding White wrote, “We are entering into the design phase of the project and the need to combine our funds is upon us. The truck will in the are $500,000 and will add a new fire engine to our fleet so we can better protect and serve the residents and guests of our coverage area. I would gladly answer any questions you may have and know that we appreciate the City of Parsons for being a part of our team.”
The council unanimously approved White’s request. Once the design is decided upon by the department and order placed it will take approximately three years for the completion of the new fire truck. White stated the department will not order the new truck until they have at least half down.
Parsons Police Chief, Kevin Keplinger, thanked the Mountain Region Special Response team for their response during a recent incident involving an individual who had barricade himself in his house. Keplinger said, “This is first time we have used this team. They responded quickly and was very patient with the individual.”
City Administrator, Agnes Arnold, updated the council on several items. Arnold reported that the city has received a letter from the state department stating the employment rate was at 1.35 percent. Arnold informed the council that there 145 veterans banners currently in place around the city and there will be a Veteran’s Memorial service for Veteran’s Day on November 11 at 11 a.m. at the memorial in Parsons. On Saturday November 5 Arnold and volunteers will be placing flags on veteran’s graves in the cemetery on Quality Hill.
Arnold reported the winners for the Scarecrow Contest. First place went to Creations, second place went to The Parsons Advocate, and third place was presented to Parsons Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
An appreciate meal was prepared for the employees of the City of Parsons. The meal included hamburgers and hot dogs and all the fixings. Arnold said, “Our crews have been working very hard. We have had a rough couple of years with a lot of water leaks. It was time for them to talk and laugh and they were very pleased with that.”
The sidewalk by Mountain Valley Bank will not be replaced until March due to weather conditions.
Memorial Drive will be completed by the end of the week.
The council voted to accept the proposed proclamation presented by Governor Jim Justice declaring Thanksgiving week of November 20 through November 26 as Christian Heritage Week. The proclamation states, “Whereas, the Preamble to the Constitution of West Virginia declares, “Since through Devine Providence we enjoy the blessing of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God,” and
Whereas, the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of West Virginia guarantees religious freedom; and the “Sundays excepted” provision of Article 7, Chapter 14 historically recognizes Sunday as a day of rest and worship; and
Whereas, for many West Virginians public school days once began with a daily Pledge of Allegiance, prayer, and Bible reading; and
Whereas, the state songs, The Virginia Hills, and West Virginia My Home Sweet Home, contain the lyrics, “With their summits bathed in glory, like our Prince Immanuel’s land!” and “There I work, and I play, and I worship Sunday,” and
Whereas, the influence of Christianity in West Virginia is evident by her many churches and Christian charities, ministries, missions, and schools; cherished Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving holiday seasons; and a willingness of Mountaineers to love thy neighbor as thyself; and
Whereas, Thanksgiving week is an appropriate time to center attention on our thanks to Almighty God for His great and good Providence and for the Christian faith, which is part of West Virginia’s and America’s history.
Now, therefore, be it resolved that I, Jim Justice, Governor of the Great State of West Virginia, do hereby proclaim November 20-26, 2022, as Christina Heritage Week in the Mountain State and invite all citizens to join me in the observance.”
Arnold also informed the council of a correspondence received from the Tucker County High School basketball team thanking the City of Parsons for all their support and contributions. Mayor Dorothy Judy was presented with a picture of the team signed by all members of the team.
The next City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 6 p.m. at the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau Municipal Building, 341 Second Street, Parsons. If you would like to place an item on the agenda please feel free to contact the Parsons Business Office at (304) 478-2311.
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