Chief Roberts Settles Citizens at City Council Meeting

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By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

Emotions inside the City Council meeting were running as high as the temperature outside as the agenda listed the potential rescinding of the motion to close sections of Sugar Maple Lane. Last month, after running in the paper several times alerting the residents of the potential vote to close the alley, residents attended the meeting upset about the unanimous vote to close this alley. This lead to discussion amongst the council to consider rescinding the motion, even though there were other locals appreciative of their decision. At one point, there was disagreement between neighbors that lead to Chief T.D. Roberts stepping in to end the dispute and regain order to the meeting.

After discussion subsided, a motion was made by Councilman Tim Auvil to rescind the motion and re-open the alley with stipulation it was going to be graveled and/or paved and maintained. It was also noted that the alley must remain passable and if it becomes blocked, City Hall should be notified so the Parsons City Police can address. The motion was second by Councilman Samuel Blosser, which passed unanimously.

City Attorney Pat Nichols was present to assist in the understanding of the policy adopted back in December in reference to social media usage by the City Council. Nichols cautioned the council as well as city employees on their usage of social media, stating, “Technically, you all as council speak as one voice, not as individuals.” The policy suggests ways questions should be answered and how they should be addressed.

Another issue he covered was the usage of photographs without written consent by those involved. This includes city events and pictures of big crowds, which does result in a hindrance for the city because of the events they host. “You just have to be careful of what you do post,” he suggested. This includes the city employees and council members on their personal social media pages as well, not just the ones owned and operated by the city.

As most of those in attendance vacated the room, Nichols offered an update to the council on the closing on the proposed Parsons Industrial Park land. He informed the deeds have all been sent to the heir of the property and the money is ready to be disbursed as soon as everything returns signed.

The previous meeting minutes were approved moving into the consideration of invoices, prepared by Assistant Administrator and Finance Director Danielle Sponaugle. Invoice one was in the amount of $299,769.23 and invoice list two was $1,370.81, both of which were approved. There were no estimates or proposals at this time.

Employee and committee reports followed beginning with Roberts updating preparations for Patrolman N.C. Gidley to attend the Police Academy on July 15. Auvil noted the new raw water intake pump has been installed and is operating at 630 gallons per minute. City Administrator Jason Myers provided his updates, meeting with the WVDOH regarding the Corricks Ford project utilizing the $150,000 grant awarded for the trail. He continued with stating the pond clean up is not complete, though the company did drag the pond and removed the lilies, though they grew right back. The company also sprayed the lilies which resulted in a multiplication of the nuisance. Another method is being investigated to remove them from the pond. It was previously believed there was an inlet pipe supplying the pond with water, though it has recently been discovered there isn’t one and the pond is only supplied by ground and runoff water. Methods are being discussed to provide fresh water flowing into the pond, though there is a high water outflow pipe leading to the river. There is also a goal to deepen the pond due to the silt deposits from the last several flooding episodes making it extremely shallow.

Myers met with Barb Elza Miller, the consultant assisting with the CRS flood plain management program to begin addressing the requirements of the program. He noted there will be flood plain training at the Parsons Fire Hall on July 10 beginning at 8 a.m.

There have also been several Blueprint Communities meetings the city has been attending and a kick off meeting for public input has been scheduled for July 19 to coincide with the Gospel Sing at Mill Race Park. As folks gather for the event, they will be asked to participate in a questionnaire as to what you’d like to see within Parsons, and as a thank you for your time there will be an ice-cream social.

Interviews for the firms interested in the waste water update project will be interviewed on July 15 beginning at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The paving project on Pennsylvania Avenue and D and W Lane has been completed which fixed the ponding issue near Shop N’ Save, as well as the completion of the River Street project. The paving for the new entrance at Mill Race Park has also been complete, but came in approximately $2,500 over budget.

“We had no damages from the storm over the weekend,” Myers stated, though the City has been helping WVDOH with catch basins on Backbone Mountain. Contact has been made with Harman with offers to assist if needed, noting their new sewer system is completely destroyed. “It’s worse than the ’85 flood was for us in that little town,” he added. “Later, let’s remember to do something, right now they’re getting lots of stuff which I’m glad, but after a while it dwindles down,” Mayor Dorothy Judy added. Myers continued informing of a city employee being involved in a minor accident at Kidwell’s on the mountain. Proper procedure was followed and will be taken care of amongst insurance companies. Fortunately there was minimal damage to the city vehicle and no bodily harm.

Auvil commented on behalf of Parks and Recreation saying the bathroom at Mill Race Park flooded with sewage due to the recent storm. It is believed that aiding in this issue is people flushing items that are resulting in these issues. A grinder booster pump is needed to assist in preventative measures for this issue, which is estimated to cost around $2,500. Auvil requested to authorize purchase of the pump not to exceed $2,500 and to utilize funds from the Rainy Day Fund to do so, and all agreed. Brief discussion commenced about some slippery portions of the Splash Pad, which is being addressed, and potential grant opportunities for an ADA compliant bathroom at Mill Race Park. Concluding unfinished business, authority was given to the Personnel Committee to hire a seasonal groundskeeper for the Parsons City Cemetery.

Moving into new business, the first order of business was to consider recommendations from the Fleet Management Committee regarding the purchase of a new city truck. A quote from a 2020 F-350 diesel was presented followed by discussion on the usage and need for the vehicle. Alternatives were suggested and additional quotes are being sought. The final item of the agenda was to consider offering a $1 per hour raise to Aggie Arnold, which approved unanimously.

This concluded the City Council session addressing business matters. The next meeting will commence on Tuesday, July 16, beginning at 6 p.m.