Marion to receive state funds for airport project despite cuts

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
New state money is coming into the City of Marion for airport improvement, but state funds expected to come in for normal budgeting may not come, the Marion City Commission learned Monday.

Susan Cooper, development director, announced the Kansas Department of Transportation Aviation Division has approved $90,000 in grant funds as its share of a $100,000 maintenance project at Marion Airport.

The city would need to pay $10,000 or any over-cost above the $100,000 for crack-sealing runways and asphalting the airplane tie-down area currently in grass, Cooper said.

The city would pay for all of the 30-day estimated length project with the state reimbursing its share within 14 days of notice, Cooper said.

Marion was turned down for the Kansas Department of Transportation grant when it applied in September 2001 for the year 2002, but now is approved for the 2003-2004 fiscal year beginning in July, she said.

The commissioners voted to join a possible League of Kansas Municipalities lawsuit to be decided Dec. 12 that would challenge Gov. Bill Graves’ authority to cut $48 million in demand transfer payments to cities and counties.

The city would pay no fee, and City Attorney Dan Baldwin said he believes that the League basically is asking for an endorsement of the lawsuit.

City Administrator David Mayfield estimated Marion’s “worst-case scenario” loss in the cut could be as much as $100,093 because of the state not funding special highway, gas tax, local ad valorem tax reduction and city and county sharing.

Fire Chief Thad Meierhoff reported seven fire runs in September, four in October and seven in November, bringing the total runs for the year to 65 as of Dec. 1. Ironically, he was called from the meeting for a fire run.

Cooper said the Marion Planning Commission meeting normally scheduled for the third Monday of the month has been moved to 7 p.m., Dec. 30, because of holiday conflicts. The regular third Monday meeting will resume in January.

Janet Marler, librarian, reported there are 212 new library books, and library circulation was 2,790 items in November.

Linda Holub, city treasurer, reminded city residents to sign up for a $10 discount on utilities for putting up Christmas lights before Christmas.

The commissioners approved an ordinance adjusting trash rates for residential customers to $7 a month, and reducing commercial rates by $4 from current rates to allow for new county assessment and ownership of the transfer station.

Mayfield said the new rate would allow for continued twice a week pickup to continue, furnish trash bags as is currently done, put revenue into capital outlay for purchase of a new refuse truck, and assist in keeping the tree dump open.

It would not refund recycling, he said.

The commissioners approved paying the November Investment and Collateral Report, and the November Financial Statement which came in at 75 percent of funds budgeted used when the expectation was for 91.6 percent.

The commissioners approved paying warrants for $209,554.72 with Mayfield noting the amount high because of a $104,043.75 payment to the State Treasurer for street improvement bonds, a $11,875 payment to the Kansas Water Office for reservoir water purchase, and $6,702.35 for city utility bills.

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