By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Upon the ending of her probationary period, the City of Parsons has decided to severe the relationship with Stephanie Murphy as City Administrator and Treasurer. It is unclear as to why the City Council reached this verdict as matters on the subject were discussed, behind closed doors, in executive session. Council member Amy Wagner was the only member to vote against the non-employment, and Mellissa Jones abstained from voting. Yah votes were obtained from Council members Bruce Kolsun, Timothy Auvil, and David Greenlief. With the yes votes in favor, her probationary employment was severed at once following the meeting.
Wagner spoke to the Council as a concerned citizen and local restaurant business owner about the recent survey posted by the City of Parsons on their Facebook page. Wagner expressed having the feelings of disrespect and complete disregard from the City of Parsons.
Wagner spoke for herself and several other restaurant owners in the Parsons area. Wagner said she would like to see the city help her gain more customers instead of bringing in more competition that may not work together like the current owners in the city do now.
The survey had several questions about what residents would like to see come to town in the restaurant form. The survey also asked such questions as to what the residents would like to see on the menu of such restaurants. Wagner said to the Council that she would have liked to have been given a call before the survey was posted and the city should not have been involved.
The survey in question was presented by the Pro Tec, West Virginia Community Development Program along with Downtown Appalachia: Revitalizing Recreation Economies (DARRE) and was aimed at working towards transforming Parsons’ vacant, historic, or underutilized downtown properties into thriving businesses, mixed-use retail, and housing complexes, community facilities, or other cultural assets.
Individuals, organizations, or businesses wishing to engage in or is currently engaged in the redevelopment of an eligible project should contact Ray Moeller at Raymond.firstname.lastname@example.org or contact his office at (304) 293-0390.
Police Chief Kevin Keplinger reported there have been slow responses to the advertisement for a new officer. Keplinger said he would continue to pursue new applicants, but at the current time it was a challenging task because the Sheriff’s office was hiring as well, and they pay $5.50 more an hour. Keplinger said, “They (Sheriff’s office) started their application process on Saturday. As they go forward, we will go forward.”
Keplinger stated him and Officer Nick attended a free two-day training event aimed at managing a school shooter or hostage situation. Keplinger would like to do a mock shooter situation with the local schools and a walk-through in those schools to become initiative-taking on the potential of deadly situations.
Jones thanked Keplinger for his work.
Auvil updated the Council on the Corricks Ford Battlefield Project saying the completion would be pushed back until the fall. Most likely the completion will be some time in October. The push back was due to the paving company needing approval from the Commission in Charleston to do the work.
Auvil reported that a grant funding application for the 38 lights for the trail has been applied to cover the cost of the lights that is close to $120,000. Two grant applications were placed with Mon Forest and WVDOH.
About the Pulp Mill Bottom Pond Restoration Project Auvil reported they were moving forward with the project and currently filling in low spots with fill dirt. There will need to be topsoil on top of the fill dirt before the hydro seed can be added.
Another advantage for the project the fountain that was ordered came with an aeration system. The aeration system that was previously bought for $15,000.
City Council members approved a resolution supporting West Virginia’s Veterans and opposing any plan or recommendation that will cause the loss of access to Veteran’s Affairs facilities or the healthcare services they provide.
The resolution states “West Virginians have a long history of military service, and West Virginia is among the state with the highest capita populations of veterans, with more than 140,000 veterans statewide.
The Council calls on the Department of Veteran Affairs to hold meaningful public hearings in West Virginia to receive input and feedback on the recommendations.
The City Council of the City of Parsons, Tucker County, West Virginia supports and honors our Veterans and the selfless sacrifice they have made in the name of our country, our liberty, and our freedom and acknowledges that we all have an absolute and sacred duty and responsibility to see that our Veterans are provided the best possible healthcare.”
Auvil entertained a motion to consider the first reading of change to the Parsons City Ordinance 936.01 Water Rate Schedules. The changes proposed include a $600 connection fee or actual cost of installation, including materials and labor. The fee will be whichever is greater. The ordinance will be reevaluated every three years going forward.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau Municipal Building. If you would like to place an item on the agenda, feel free to contact Parsons Business Office at (304) 478-2311.