By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Progress is being made in the demolition of the old Paint Store in Parsons. Dave Clark updated the City Council by stating the Woodlands Development Group has made headway. Clark and Emily Wilson-Hauger have been diligently working to find grants and funding for the demolition.
One such source could be the Small Town Grant for demolition in small towns. Clark stated: “Don’t know when the money will roll out. The state has $10 mil to allocate for demolitions. It will come. Just a question of when.”
Clark, Wilson-Hauger, and the City of Parsons want to ensure that the building is unoccupied. The current tenants will be given the opportunity to remove any items out of the building that they wish to keep.
Then the first three steps of the process can begin. First, Woodlands will secure the building. Then, they will obtain ownership. Finally, clean-up can proceed. The clean-up process most likely will include asbestos removal. An asbestos test has been conducted on the building and the results should be ready this week. Clark mentioned the removal of asbestos before demolition was more cost efficient than finding it during the demolition and having to stop to remove the asbestos.
The Parsons Emergency Water Preparedness and Resiliency Project is also making head way for the City of Parsons and the Hamrick PSD. Mayor Dorothy Judy upon approval of Council members has signed an Intragovernmental Agreement that will enable both entities, in the event of an emergency, to purchase needed water from each other. The project has received needed approval from the Sate of WV Office of Environmental Health Services as well as Warren Judy to allow connection on his property on the Parsons side of the Blackfork River.
The Intragovernmental Agreement will now go to Hamrick PSD during their upcoming meeting on May 9 at 4 p.m. Providing no majority objection the agreement will then be signed by Hamrick PSD. Three right of way agreements will need to be signed to finish the requirements for the project to go to bid.
Council Member Tim Auvil gave an update on the proposed water rate adjustment and tap fees. The Council had already voted in favor of a 10 percent increase in the water rate. This increase is to cover the debt percentage and qualify for the grant monies for the Water System Improvement Project as the City of Parsons’ MHI (Medium Household Income) has raised $6,900. The last increase of rate was 10 years ago.
There will be no change to the leak adjustments but there will be an increase in the tap fee. The current rate is $300 and will be raised to $600 or actual cost of installation. Auvil mentioned currently it cost roughly $590 for a new tap in the water lines, so the city taking a loss by only charging $300. Sewer will remain at $400.
These changes will have to made in the City Ordinances and must be read at three City Council meetings before taking effect. The first reading will take place at the next City Council meeting.
Parsons Police Chief Kevin Keplinger reported the new speed sign is working extremely well. Keplinger praised the sign for being easy to mount, easy to operate, and easy to transfer to different locations. Keplinger mentioned Lover’s Lane, Pennsylvania Ave, and Chestnut Street as potential locations for the sign. The ball field during game times was also an option. Keplinger said: “It’s a great tool.”
The sign registers speeds as drivers pass by. It does not send out tickets, scan your license plates or alert the police in any way. The data gathered from the sign is used to determine high traffic areas and areas of concern. The sign will only digitally show speeds up to 40 mph but will register the data for any speed over.
Keplinger has plans to obtain a quote for a second sign and additional brackets. The second sign will be used in addition to the first sign to monitor the speeds of drivers from both lane directions on a road.
Former City Treasurer Jason Myers gave credit to Council member Mellissa Jones for the speed sign idea. Myers said: “Thank you for the suggestion and pushing it through.”
Keplinger updated the City Council on the hiring of a new patrolman by saying he only had two applicants at the current time. Keplinger believes the slow response could be that the West Virginia State Police were given a $10,000 raise and the Tucker County Commissioners have given a raise to the deputies of Tucker County. This raise brings the deputies up to $21 an hour.
Finishing his update, Keplinger gave praise to the new Code Enforcement Officer for already making a difference in the city and doing proactive work. Keplinger stated: “Really pleased. Works with people well.” Keplinger mentioned that the Code Enforcement Officer is currently working out of a cruiser until his Traverse can be fixed and modified.
Council members voted in favor a $250 sponsorship to the Highlands Trail Foundation’s Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon on September 10, 2022.
The next City Council Meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., May 17, 2022, at the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau Municipal Building, 341 Second Street, Parsons, West Virginia. If you would like to place an item on the agenda, feel free to contact Parsons Business Office at 304.478.2311.