Move to Salina prompts Marion commissioner to resign

Mayor Eloise Mueller and Commissioner Jim Crofoot “regretfully accepted” Commissioner Larry Reiswig’s resignation effective Oct. 1 at the Monday meeting of the Marion City Commission.

Reiswig is moving to Salina, where he is president of Central National Bank after 15 years as finance commissioner.

Mueller and Crofoot are bound by state statute, City Administrator Dennis Nichols said, to appoint a successor to Reiswig within 10 days of his vacating the post with City Attorney Dan Baldwin also casting a vote in case of a tie.

Before Reiswig’s announcement, much of the meeting was involved in discussion with Robert and Cheryl Hartley and the commission’s decision not to sell them lots they requested in the light industrial park for a staging-turning area for semi-trucks entering their truck wash.

A decision on selling them lots 21 and 22 had been deferred from the previous week’s meeting because of commissioners’ concerns that the staging area would tie up lots that had developed at a high cost to the city that might be better used for higher tax revenue producing retailers.

After going out to view the lots, the commissioners said they had not changed their feelings.

The Hartleys said that if they were allowed to purchase the lots, they intended to do a high quality job laying millings on the roadway, and installing 12-inch drainage tubes. They said they had explored other options including being turned down by Pizza Hut owner Bob Navrat on a possible purchase of part of his lot north of the store.

They contended that earlier lot developers had been allowed to do lesser quality of work on their lots because they came in earlier, that their earlier drawings had included the turn-around sketched in, and that their business would be hurt if truckers waiting on the street to use the wash risked being ticketed by law enforcement officers.

Cheryl Hartley said they could have gone to Hillsboro, but wanted to do something to benefit Marion, and that Marion commissioners would be better advised to do what they could to fill the park.

The Hartleys left the meeting. The commissioners decided to talk to Navrat on the Hartleys’ behalf, and to try to research other possibilities for the staging area.

Development Director Susan Cooper recommended, and the commissioners adapted higher base prices for business park lots in consideration of city investments such as the turn lane from U.S. Highway 56 being completed there. They made an exception for sale of lots at the old price to the Hartleys in case an alternative plan for them was found.

The new prices are $8,000 each for lots 4 through 8 in the front row, $7,000 for lot 12, $6,000 each for lots 13 and 17 through 22 in the second row, and $5,000 each for lots 28 through 36 in the back row.

The commissioners accepted 3-0 adaptation of clean drinking water fee of three cents per 1,000 gallons to the state of Kansas effective Oct. 1 instead of paying state sales tax under new rules offered by the state after lobbying by the Rural Water Association.

Nichols cited examples that showed paying sales tax more advantageous in some years and the water fee more so than others. He said the complexity of dealing with sales tax plus the amount of taxable repairs Marion plans to do in the future made using the water fee seem more attractive.

Nichols said final approval from the Kansas Dept. of Transportation has been received for grant money use on the library/railroad depot renovation project which means a pre-bid meeting has been set for Oct. 11 and bid opening for Oct. 25.

The commissioners met in executive session with Baldwin and Jeff Kennedy, attorney from Wichita, to discuss the Groening and others lawsuit to prevent annexation of the Martin Marietta Quarry by the city of Marion. No decision was announced.

Theo Bond questioned commissioners on who Kennedy represented, and who paid his fees.

Reiswig said he is not being paid by tax money, and Mueller said she doesn’t think the commission is ready to divulge any more than that.

The commissioners are scheduled to dedicate the Central Park Spring after riding in the parade Sept. 29 at Old Settlers Day, and they will hold a condemnation hearing regarding lots 3 and 4, block 3, Williards Addition, at 5 p.m. Oct. 1.

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