City of Marion won’t receive grants for two critical projects

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The City of Marion has been turned down for two state grants considered critical to future developments.

David Mayfield, city administrator, reported to the City Commission Monday that he received word from the Kansas Department of Transportation that the city has been turned down for a 2006 grant to rebuild Eisenhower Street that runs by the high school stadium.

And, perhaps even more critical, Mayor Eloise Mueller also received word Monday that the city was not selected for a Community Block Development Grant that would have been used to rebuild the city water plant to meet new state requirements.

On the first grant, Mayfield and City Development Director Susan Cooper said the city can reapply for funding in the next fiscal cycle.

But on the second grant, Mayfield and Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said the city must act to meet a state timetable that could shut the water plant down by 2004 if no action is taken.

Mayfield said the city did apply for a rural water loan for the plant renovation, but if it doesn’t get that, it may have to go to something like a bond issue for financing.

Sanders estimated that once engineering is complete on the water plant, the actual construction could take only six to eight months.

Mayfield said he would expect the state to make some concessions on its deadlines if the water plant is already part way done. The water plant could keep operating while it is redone, he said.

Mayfield said he also hears rumors that the state may “cut some slack” for the majority of cities that have to meet the deadline because financing is difficult for everybody.

Sanders said that right now the city is in compliance with nearly all the state’s water plant operation requirements.

Mayfield said this compliance may be one of the reason Marion didn’t receive the grant because cities where requirements aren’t being met got “bumped to the top of the list.”

Regarding start-up of the Marion County Transfer Station following purchase from KC Development, Mayfield said he called David Brazil, county sanitarian and transfer station manager, to find out at what point the city might get charged extra for construction and demolition materials in garbage.

Mayfield noted that he occasionally throws a few boards away from construction projects, and if many city residents did that at the same time, the city might receive an unexpectedly high trash bill.

Mayfield said Brazil told him that possibly anything more than a polycart full of such material in a truckload of solid waste could result in the load incurring C&D rates, but that he would do more checking.

Commissioner Jim Crofoot asked about the city getting a jump on such things by weighing trash, and Mayfield said the trash truck already weighed full at Cooperative Grain & Supply each time, and its empty weight is known to give tonnage figures.

Commissioner Larry McLain said that KC owned the transfer station and should have been required to have scales there rather than sending customers to the co-op, and that now, the county still should be getting scales.

“Trash should still be done by tonnage,” McLain said. “Somebody should go to the (county) commission down there, and tell them they need to get their act together.”

Sanders said trash collection in Marion for December totalled 131.53 tons. He said the city recycling fence has been torn down with the Stutzman dumpster for cardboard going this week, and a sign posted saying no recycling. Only the girl scout receptacle for cans remains.

Cooper said the Tampa State Bank is seeking rezoning of lots it is purchasing to the north where a mobile home stands to enable it to build a storage building and more parking space. She said the only concerns have come from neighbors who don’t want lighting there to be overly bright.

Librarian Janet Marler reported acquisition of 78 new books and a circulation of 2,659 for December.

The commission approved the December utility billing report and paying warrants for $6,417.95.

At its December 30 meeting, the Commission passed an ordinance adopting the international plumbing code and an ordinance setting out a new fee schedule for repairing city utilities and streets that are damaged in things such as plumbing repairs or telephone or gas work.

Mayfield said the city never has had such fees before, but the new ordinance allows it to recover for damages.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin said the fees can be made effective by notification of persons such as phone companies and plumbers.

The commission renewed existing electric, plumbing, video and cereal malt beverage licenses for 2003.

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