The Marion City Council directed its city administrator and clerk to look at possible projects using one of two grants at its July 22 meeting.
The decision was prompted by the council after City Clerk Angela Lange explained to the council that she and City Administrator Doug Kjellin met with Rose Mary Saunders of Ranson Financial Consultants, and Dan Hall of BG Consultants, to explore grant options for the restrooms in Central Park.
“Both Rose Mary and Dan have done numerous projects through the Kansas Department of Commerce,” Lange said. “The grants we discussed were a KanStep grant and a community facilities grant.”
Kjellin said both sources are considered community development block grant funds, which were used in past and current projects such as the Jex Sewer Project and the upcoming street project.
“One strong point of the discussion was that the project would be needed to include some sort of storm shelter,” Lange said.
The main difference between the two grants, she said, is the KanStep grant requires community volunteers equivalent to 40 percent of the project, and the community facilities grant requires a 25 percent match.
Both grants would require an architect. Lange said they also spoke about other projects that could be considered.
Councilor Todd Heitschmidt said he didn’t want to let a CDBG grant go by; if nothing else, the city should look at an “optimum candidate” for the funds.
“Before we can even apply for the KanStep grant,we must have enough volunteers,” Lange said.
Kjellin said if the council thought the city should go for another $400,000 CDBG grant, it would still need the match funds.
“We want to make sure it would be in some project absolutely necessary,” he said.
Heitschmidt said he would like to have the city staff work on one or the other of the two grants for bathroom facilities in the park.
“If there is a bigger project, let’s get going on that so the council can review it,” he said. “If there is something more pressing than restrooms, then let’s get on top of that.”
Councilor Jerry Kline agreed with much of what was said, but thought some of the requirements were “overkill,” referring to architectural fees.
Although Lange agreed with the council’s concerns, she said those are the requirements.
The concensus was in favor of looking into the grants.
Kline said he was concerned about the 2014 proposed budget and a possible 2.3 mill increase.
“We aren’t cutting anything,” he told the council with respect to the mill increase.
Although council members expressed concern about maintaining recently renovated streets and other equipment, they decided to have Kjellin rework the proposed budget.
The budget workshop planned for July 29 was canceled because of weather conditions, but revisions to the budget included reducing money to equipment reserve from the utility fund and increasing that amount in the general fund.
The council approved the budget hearing for 4:30 p.m. Aug. 10.
In other business, the council:
• approved purchasing a spray-rig chassis for $3,600. According to Kjellin, the city needs a mobile spray rig capable of reaching brush and trees along the toe and bank of the levee.
“Although the primary acquisition is based upon the levee needs, the unit will also be used for street and alley, water plant and sewer departments,” he said.
• heard from Lange about an employee assistance program proposal through TMHC Services.
• approved Kjellin’s property disposal request to sell a 1997 Ford Crown Victoria and small electrical items through Purple Wave.
The next council meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at Marion City Hall.