City Votes to Abandon Section of Sugar Maple Lane

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Council Member Melissa Jones expressing concern over lack of Fire Department access to the rear of buildings if alley ways are abandoned and potentially fenced off.

By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

Council Members Melissa Jones and Amy Wagner shared brief concern over the closing of portions of Sugar Maple Lane from Loughry Street to Luflin Street.  This meeting served as the public hearing, though no public was present, and third reading of this proposal which was up for vote. All council members present except Council Member Kenneth Morrison.  Being recently appointed to the council, Jones had a chance to express concern that, “The main purpose of alley ways was for the Fire Department and access to the back of people’s homes,” she claimed, giving them the right to fence in the property if abandoned.  One resident also informed City Administrator and Treasurer Jason Myers that doing so would prevent access to the rear of his property as well, to which Myers informed the city would be placing a culvert to provide an additional point of access for this resident.  This led to Wagner’s concern regarding the costs of culverts being promised at the expense of the city and whether the residents affected wanted the alley abandoned.  Jones also stated this would also cause congestion with parking in the area.  After a rather heated discussion, it was time to vote and the votes were unanimous to go forward with abandoning the alley.

The minutes from the May 21 meeting was approved moving into financial items presented by Danielle Sponaugle, Assistant Administrator and Finance Director.  Invoice list one was in the amount of $37,967.66 which Council Member Tim Auvil moved to approve, second by Council Member Samuel Blosser.  Invoice list two was in the amount of $460.03 which was also approved.

Chief T.D. Roberts offered the police report as the only employee and committee report for the evening, informing they assisted the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department in an arrest of a sex offender with an arrest warrant issued by Barbour County.   Patrolman N.C. Gidley received his acceptance letter to attend the WV State Police Academy for 16 weeks starting July 15 with a graduation date in October.  The City Police are still working on area clean up and issuing citations to those in violation as well.  Prior to the night’s meeting, a brief discussion commenced regarding a new to the area male who has been witnessed following children and taking their pictures.  It has been reported to the police and they have approached this individual and though he has been doing as reported, considering its being done on public property there is nothing the law can do and it’s not considered illegal.  The individual has been researched and there has been no prior allegations discovered at this time, and Roberts informed if someone were to assault this man for his actions, they would be arrested for battery.  It was noted that this individual will not be permitted to be near the Splash Park at Mill Race Park.  Local law enforcement and government are aware of the situation and are handling it the best way possible.

Auvil  informed Roberts of issues with speeding in the area of Upper Long Street and that residents have even requested re-installation of the speed bump.  There will be an increase in signage in the area to encourage motorists to slow down for the safety of residents and children out playing.

Moving into unfinished business, Auvil informed a Region 7 meeting commenced prior to the City Council taking order.  The goal is to apply for a 100% grant to perform the Parsons and Hamrick PSD Emergency Potable Water Connection Project.  At this time, applications have not been sent by the state but once they are, the City of Parsons City Council voted to authorize Mayor Dorothy Judy to go forth with signing to submit the application immediately.

The Personnel Committee  presented a recommendation to hire Matthew Lipscomb as a seasonal groundskeeper at the Parsons City Cemetery pending a drug test.  This motion passed unanimously.  The last item falling within unfinished business was to consider the bids received by the Fleet Management Committee submitted for the surplus property.  The committee received a bid from Brian Shifflett for $4,150.00 for the 1995 International dump truck and $555.00 for the 1986 Bomag Roller.  The committee approved the bids as did the council.  As for the remaining two pieces of equipment, they are going to be re-evaluated and potentially repaired and kept in the fleet.

New business consisted of a proposal for ordinance codification services from Municode.  Discussion commenced regarding the former company the city is under contract with, who they feel has violated terms and conditions of said contract, and they are seeking legal council to verify if they can get out of the contract.  It was decided by all members to hire Municode pending ability of terminating the former contract as well as the funds that were already allocated for this service were sufficient.

It was also agreed to allow staff to attend the Municipal and Associations Seminar on July 16 and 17 in Bridgeport as well as the WV Municipal Leagues 50 Annual Conference August 6 through 9 in Huntington.  There were no items remaining on the agenda therefore Council Member David Greenlief made a motion to adjourn the meeting.

The next meeting of the Parsons City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18 at 6 p.m.  All interested parties are welcome and encouraged to attend.