Marion leaders OK $1.274 million bond measure

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion County City Commission approved Monday the issuance of $1.274 million in general obligation bonds for industrial parks development after the commission also accepted a low bid for financing the bonds.


Gold Capital Management of Overland Park was announced as the successful bidder at 4.9696 percent by Roger Edger, representative for George K. Baum & Co.


Edger and City Administrator Dennis Nichols both said that anything under 5.0 percent was an excellent rate for the city.


Mayor Eloise Mueller and Commissioner Jim Crofoot voted to accept the bid and an accompanying resolution designed to reduce the amount of legal information required to be published in the newspaper. Commissioner Larry Reiswig was absent.


Edger described Gold Capital, the parent company of Gold Bank which originated in Marysville, as “a good commercial bank.” He was in the city offices from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Monday to receive the bids.


Edger said the bonds are structured to allow the city as much as a 20 percent cushion in paying them back in case sales tax revenues should drop below expectations. Financing the bonds from a .75 percent sales tax was approved by city voters in April.


He would expect proceeds from the sale of the bonds to be delivered to the city on about July 11.


The commissioners voted 2-0 to take immediate advantage of this approving a low bid from Middlecreek Mining Corporation of Peabody for $47,645 for water and sewer lines at the retail business park to be paid from the bond money. An alternative bid of $49,385 was received from Ditch Diggers Inc. of Salina.


The commissioners also heard from two different citizens’ groups, one representing the Marion Airport Authority with plans to seek grant money for improvements, and the other seeking to build a skate board facility in East Park.


Skip Sieger, representing the Airport Authority, said the State of Kansas has 90 percent grants available for improvement of small community airports. He said Marion’s airport has a “critical need” for such help with immediate overlays needed to maintain taxi-ways to save them from a need to replace them in the near future.


Sieger said it is good news that Marion is pushing ahead with industrial parks development, but the airport is in poor enough condition to create poor first impressions among potential investors who might arrive by air.


He told of one visitor during Chingawassa Days who had a propeller strike the surface at the airport, and said that even though the accident was a no-fault misfortune, the poor condition of the surface would contribute to a negative memory for the visitor.


Don Hodson said, “When a person goes into a different airport, and they find no place to park their plane, or if it’s muddy, it doesn’t help their view of the community.”


Both men said visitors are flying into Marion to eat at Kingfisher’s Inn and enjoy the county lake, and that they need to be given good first impressions.


Tonya Hodson said Marion should have an attitude that industrial park development and airport development “go hand in hand.” She said visitors have been required to push the airplane they arrived in out of the mud.


Sieger said hard-surface parking is needed. He said volunteer labor could improve the airport building.


Tonya Hodson said members of the group have been studying the problems, and learning from communities like Benton that have already made improvements with the state funds.


Sieger said that with an improved airport, Marion could host fly-ins that might attract around 25 pilots with passengers to eat, and enjoy the area.


Dick McLinden asked that commissioners arrange to see a 24-minute film he has showing the relationship between airports and industrial development.


Mueller said she would find time to watch the film, and added, “I think the airport is very important to the city, but we are always strapped for money.”


After a short discussion by Mueller, Crofoot and Nichols on what preliminary engineering might cost to qualify airport surfacing for grant money, they decided to see if the city’s street department might be able to develop estimates sufficient for the state. They also directed the Airport Authority to continue investigating the grant money, and consult with the city.


Jami Williams represented a group she said met to discuss new options for kids’ recreation in Marion that came up with the idea of a skateboard ramp to benefit the largest range in children’s age groups.


She said the group has been doing legwork to investigate the feasibility and liability of the ramp, looking at similar developments in communities like Lyons. She said the structure could include different levels of ramps, a rail, a half-pipe, and perhaps a place for children to play hackey-sack while they watch skate-boarders.


She said East Park was favored because it is bordered by two streets, the county shops and the tennis courts, thus offering little potential disturbance to anyone.


Roger Schwab, high school shop teacher, noting that skate boards have now been a favored activity for 40 years, said he would help plan the ramp. He said he didn’t think the structure would be any more dangerous than jungle gyms and swing sets.


Harvey Sanders, utilities superintendent, indicated the city crew would be helpful in determining the best location for a ramp.


Mueller said she felt it was important for the city to help find positive things to do, and she and Crofoot directed the group to continue investigating the ramp.


Susan Cooper, development director, said at the behest of Mueller, discussions on building a three-level care assisted living facility in Marion, begun three years ago, are moving ahead with involvement of a Wichita developer and local investors.


She said the development would be encouraged to work with the nursing staff at St. Luke’s.


Mueller said the project may also involve building some patio homes.


Cooper also told the commission that a move of the food bank from Prairie View to Valley United Methodist Church has enabled Prairie View to expand its operation.


Nichols said the new air conditioning in the auditorium was completed in time for the children’s summer theater production of “Robin Hood” June 21, and that patrons were happy with it. He expected Unified School District 408 to provide its $20,000 contribution to the project next week.


Nichols said the Marion County Commission has agreed to transfer ownership of historical bridge stones to the city for use on the Brooker Memorial Spring project for a minimal fee of $1 subject to two weeks of newspaper legals publication.


He said the city needs to pay its first installment of $25,000 to the contractor on the spring as soon as possible, probably Tuesday, to enable purchase of supplies to have the project completed by Old Settlers Day.


Nichols said the State Historical Department has said it won’t approve use of state grant funds for new energy efficient windows at the depot/library, but will require an insulation process for the old windows instead.


Linda Holub, city clerk, introduced Angie Lange as a new senior accountant for the city.

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