Commissioners swear in Pierce, dedicate flag mural

After swearing in Bud Pierce as the new finance commissioner Monday, the Marion City Commission went downtown to dedicate the new flag mural on the west wall of the Stone City Cafe.

Mayor Eloise Mueller did the official dedication before a crowd of 50 persons attended by a uniformed and helmeted color guard carrying flags and rifles from the VFW post.

Flag artist Barbara Chavez and Stone City owners Donna Boone and Debbie Cook joined Mueller in telling how the building-length flag, with an “In God We Trust” emblem, embodied their perceptions of the nation drawing together in crisis, and becoming closer to God.

Mueller led in the prayer and pledge of allegiance, and Bob Brookens led the crowd in singing the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”

The commission returned to the city building for business with Bob and Cheryl Hartley on hand for another meeting to discuss their need for a semi-truck staging area for their truck wash at the retail industrial park.

Bob Hartley said he wasn’t pleased with one suggestion that he lease lots for the trucks to park because improvements to the lot surface, to make it ready for trucks, would cost him $30,000 on something he didn’t own.

Commissioner Jim Crofoot wondered if the Hartleys couldn’t just open, and wait to see what business developed.

Hartley said he already has commitments from trucking companies that may be bringing in 25 trucks daily.

Cheryl Hartley said, “Our concern is that if truckers see no place to park, they are going to leave.”

The Hartleys agreed to a proposal by Mueller that they allow the city a week to come up with a proposal in part to give Pierce time to study plans.

The commission decided to pay a 100 percent settlement of $3,591.55 to avoid future liabilities under choices given for its liability in PCB oil from transformers it disposed of in the 1970s that was taken to a landfill now designated a federal superfund site for cleanup.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin recommended against alternatives of not paying any settlement and risking future liability, or paying a lesser payment of $2,693.67 that would limit but not eliminate future claims.

City Administrator Dennis Nichols said commissioners might object to the proposal because it would interfere with a possible Kansas Department of Transportation grant converting the route, especially since approval is enhanced by connection to another KDOT grant for the library/depot.

He said the city could be left with long-term maintenance of the roadway, too, and that its narrow width might require it to be one-way.

Police Chief David Mayfield thought the turning radius for semis from the roadway to Main would be too tight, resulting in worse traffic snarls.

Pierce suggested the traffic be directed instead down Third to Main.

The commissioners may consider installing a stop light instead to ease traffic-flow for trucks.

The commissioners read a letter Nichols wrote at Mueller’s request to the school district requesting the district reinforce the importance of good citizenship with students to help halt vandalism in Central Park, especially at the new spring development.

Nichols said although supervision of children should be the responsibility of parents, the city needs help in stopping pulling-up plants, throwing rocks into ponds, and removing decorative rocks at the new development.

Nichols reviewed options prepared by Street Commissioner Marty Fredrickson for badly needed replacement of old and deteriorated sewer and water lines.

He said it was determined the city doesn’t have the up-front money to seek a grant for the replacement nor does it have the repayment ability for a quarter-million-dollars loan from the Kansas Rural Water Association.

Nichols said that as the Commission studies what to do about the situation, it might find it advantageous to tie the replacement to bids for water and sewer at the industrial park.

Fredrickson said residues have corroded some old four-inch water lines down to two inches when in modern lines six inches is considered minimum size.

The commissioners approved the September financial statement, the quarterly financial statement, and paying warrants for $46,354.61.

The warrants included the final payment of $35,375.26 to Hett Construction for completion of work on the industrial park turn lane.

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