Marion to approach Waste Connections again

The Marion City Commission Monday voted 2-1 to seek to reopen negotiations with Waste Connections, Inc., to locate a regional landfill at the Martin Marietta Quarry north of Marion.

Following an executive session in which Mayor Eloise Mueller said there had been no decision, she added that she did want to bring up a topic.

She said, “I would like to see the city seek to continue negotiating with Waste Connections for the siting of a Class D landfill at the Martin Marietta Quarry.

“The county (Marion County Commission) is in trouble getting its interlocal agreement signed (for solid waste disposal through KC Development transfer station). None of the cities want to do it. I think we need to contact Waste Connections to see if they’re still interested.”

Commissioner Bud Pierce added: “That’s smart I think. I’m not pleased with what the county is coming up with.”

Commissioner Jim Crofoot said: “You still have to get the county’s approval to have a landfill. Until they move off dead center, you aren’t going to get them to do it.”

Mueller replied, “Well, this might get them off dead center.”

She asked for a motion for the city to contact Waste Connections. Pierce moved to do so, and Mueller moved to second the motion.

Mueller and Pierce voted for the motion. Crofoot voted against it. Mueller then directed City Administrator Dennis Nichols to call Waste Connections this week.

Crofoot is the only remaining member of the city commission who was formerly involved in prior negotiations with Waste Connections.

Since negotiations broke off, Mueller has succeeded Max Hayen, and Pierce has succeeded Larry Reiswig. Hayen didn’t seek re-election, and Reiswig resigned to move to Salina. Pierce was appointed in October.

The former membership of the city commission at one point voted to cease negotiations with Waste Connections because it wanted higher tipping fees. At another point it sought to have a public election on the issue because of divisions in the Marion community.

Waste Connections broke off negotiations in February to consider locating a landfill in Harper County. Crofoot said it is his understanding that considerations in Harper County have ended with the county rejecting the location of a Waste Connections landfill.

The Marion City Commission still is the defendent in a lawsuit brought by “Groening and others,” landowners around the quarry, alleging that the city acted illegally in annexing the quarry, which is located on land owned by the Rocky Hett family.

The parties in the lawsuit have ceased negotiations to allow a judgement.

Members of the landowners group have warned repeatedly that the pause in negotiations was a bid for time to allow more favorable political conditions.

Following the vote to resume negotiations, and after Mueller had actually adjourned the meeting, Theo Bond, co-owner of KC Development, said, “Well, I still have a contract with you, don’t I?

“What are you going to do with me?” he added. “I wish you wouldn’t bring this up again.”

Mueller replied, “We have something we need to work out here.”

Bond said he hoped it would be done in open meetings.

In other action, the commissioners approved 3-0 a resolution ordering Tamara Deines and Eric Goepfert, owners of an uninhabited, damaged structure at 401 N. 4th deemed unsafe by Kermit Dirksen, health and safety officer, to demolish and remove it by Jan. 25.

Janet Marler, city librarian, said 200 persons attended a soup supper last week to raise another $1,600 toward the library/railroad depot rennovation.

Additional library fund-raisers planned this month include a Lions Club drawing for a 13-inch color TV and a 30-inch dressed porcelain doll donated by Phyllis Soyez, Christmas ornaments depicting the library/depot logo for $5 each, Christmas Home Tours from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at $5 a ticket, and sales of personalized engraved bricks or plaques at the library for a minimum $50 each.

Marler said more than 700 bricks have been sold.

Action on a proposed stage in Central Park requested by the Chingawassa Days Committee was postponed pending consideration by the Park Board.

Development Director Susan Cooper said the hospital board will be meeting with proposed assisted living housing developers Thursday.

The commission approved 3-0 a request from Clerk Linda Holub to give any city resident who registers with an outdoor home Christmas light display $10 off the electric bill.

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