ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Marion city residents who want to keep low rates for water can help by promptly returning a survey that will be mailed with their utility bills Aug. 28.
Marion County Lake residents will also receive the survey because they use City of Marion water.
Susan Cooper, the city’s development director, said Monday at the Marion City Commission meeting that the survey will ask income questions to help qualify the city for a grant for water improvements. The grant requires that at least 51 percent of residents qualify as low to moderate income.
The grant is a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant, but the city can also apply for other grants and loans.
The mailing will include a stamped addressed envelope to the city, but Cooper said no city personnel will see a survey. The envelope will be opened by personnel from the South Central Kansas Economic Development Council, she said.
To receive proper credit, utility stubs and payments must be returned separately either through the mail or the drop slot at the city building, Cooper said. Residents should not return utility payments in the survey envelope.
City Administrator Dennis Nichols said, “It is very important that people do the survey carefully.”
He said with the improvements the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is requiring the city to make at the city water plant to meet federal guidelines by 2004, grants are the only way the city can avoid higher rates. Improvements are expected to cost the city from $800,000 to $1 million.
“It is not a time to be prideful and avoid telling your income, because nobody you know will open it, and the people who open it can’t identify you,” Nichols said.
Cooper said the grant application requires that 80 percent of the people return the income survey. If they don’t return it by Sept. 20, she will have to track them down to ask for it through an identification number on the envelope.
Jeff Cady, chairperson of the recreation commission, told commissioners the group had a “very successful season” with 30 persons participating in the canyon hike, 99 kids out for the swimming team, and more persons than ever involved in baseball.
Commissioner Larry McLain said he had received “lots of positive comments” on the program and the improved baseball fields.
Cady said it has been an ongoing effort to keep improving the fields, and even though the summer season is ending, the recreation commission is still planning for future activities and improvements.
Margo Yates noted that activities increase again with the winter season October through March.
Nichols announced that Kermit Dirksen has turned in his resignation as city building and health inspector because of personal health issues.
Nichols said that until a successor can be found, Dirksen’s duties will be assumed by three employees together-Cooper, Harvey Sanders, utilities superintendent, and Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent.
Commissioners voted 3-0 to appoint Bonnie Vinduska, who volunteered to care for the Central Park Spring, to a seat on the Parks
Nichols noted that an event the city should support, the fireworks display at the Marion County Lake sponsored by the Marion County Economic Development Council, will start at 9 p.m. Sept. 1.
Janet Marler, librarian, said the library received a gift from the estate of Joan Bowers, but no amount was announced. Marler said a flag and flagpole have been contributed to the library by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
Sanders said the electrical crew continues to have difficulty keeping up with pruning trees that are growing into power lines. One mishap occurred last week when a contacted line burned and fell in the city park.
Fredrickson said his crew is continuing with water hydrant change-outs.
City Attorney Dan Baldwin said the city has given an affidavit to the Marion County Commission acknowledging that proper zoning continues for operation of the solid waste transfer station the county plans to purchase from KC Development.
After the commissioners read the affidavit, Baldwin told them the main requirement was that James Kaup, acting attorney for the county, wanted it publicly acknowledged at a city meeting.
Baldwin said: “No action is necessary. It’s a memorandum to go into their sales file.”
Cooper said Marion didn’t get a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to purchase a fire truck. She said 19,600 communities applied for $22 billion available.
The commission reapproved the July financial statement after Linda Holub, city treasurer, pointed out that an error discovered was corrected from last week.
The commissioners approved paying warrants for $18,027.
The commissioners met for a 15-minute executive session to consider a purchase of property. No action was taken when the public meeting resumed.