Marion commissioners OK $200 donation to BBBS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Waiting lists for the young and the old needing help were considered Monday at the Marion City Commission meeting.

Sherry Soyez, director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, said as many as 50 children wait to be placed with mentors. The commissioners awarded the program a $200 donation from the city.

Commissioner Bud Pierce, who also is chairman of the Marion Housing Authority, said 15 senior citizens await housing placement with the list sometimes going to 20.

Pierce said the Authority’s 28 units always stay full, and more are needed, but federal funding is constantly stymied by Housing and Urban Development regulation changes.

He is hopeful that when the time comes to build, the city will provide some of its land on the east side of the swimming pool by the current housing.

Pierce was Marion’s finance commissioner when the first units were built in 1971 and said he still has the gold-plated shovel used at the earth-turning ceremony.

Pierce said improvements at the units include new trouble lights installed by Harvey Sanders, replacement of a storage shed, destroyed by wind, with one triple the size, a new irrigation system installed by Earl Peters that will free Jim Fruechting for other maintenance, and replacement of counter tops and carpets.

Pierce credited Sanders, as city utilities superintendent, and Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, with always being ready to help with problems at the housing.

He said the Authority is receiving further city help from Susan Cooper, development director, in seeking a solution to the HUD funding.

Soyez, who was seeking local funds for match with For Kids’ Sakes grants, said the program pays off for the community with children who get along with peers better, and who are more likely to stay out of trouble. “They are happier,” she said.

She said there were funds and adult matches this year sufficient to serve two 5-year-olds, one 6-year-old, one 13-year-old, and several persons between 10 and 13.

Mark Meyer, FFA advisor at Marion High School, brought the FFA officers to the meeting to ask for a city FFA week proclamation.

Amanda Hoffman, president of the Marion FFA chapter, read the proclamation which commissioners approved 3-0.

Hoffman is also chairman for the Family, Careers & Community Leaders of America chapter, and she read a proclamation for FCCLA which the commission also approved.

The commissioners approved lease/purchase of a trencher/backhoe from Ditch Witch of Kansas for $45,800 at 4.75 percent interest with monthly payments annually totaling $10,272.

Dennis Nichols, city administrator, said this is a $3,000 savings annually due to price reduction and interest reduction compared to the $13,284 the city had budgeted annually for the acquisition.

The competing bidder was for a Case machine from Price Brothers Equipment Co., and Nichols said since June the Case increased from $45,280 to $46,750 while the Ditch Witch was lowered from $56,117.67.

Nichols and Fredrickson were surprised that the recycled waste disposed of by the city for 2001 through Sutzman Refuse Disposal, including 36 tons of paper products and 7 tons of plastic, glass and metal, wasn’t more.

Nichols said the recycled items were only 2.9 percent of Marion’s waste stream with 1,459 tons of total waste delivered to KC Development transfer station to be hauled to Rolling Meadows Landfill at Topeka.

He said it cost the city $7,619, or $177.19 per ton, for the recycling compared to $79,769, or $54.67 per ton, for the trash through KC.

Sanders told commissioners that the new shed has been built at the tree dump.

Sanders said installation of the sprinkler irrigation system in Central Park has begun.

Fredrickson said excavation work at Batt Industrial Park has been made more difficult by hitting rock.

He said the city crew handpatched potholes this week besides doing many other repair and maintenance duties.

Cooper said she and Fire Chief Thad Meierhoff are working on grant money possibilities for a new fire truck.

The commissioners approved an electric license renewal for Glen Waggoner of Hedlund Electric Inc. in McPherson.

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