Marion city leaders authorize applying for state loan funds

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion City Commission approved a resolution to complete an application for up to $800,000 in state 20-year loan funds at its Monday meeting.

The funding is designated for upgrading the city water plant to meet new standards.

City Administrator David Mayfield said payment for the loan will be made through funds from public water-use price increases made the first of the year that will be transferred to a revolving fund until due.

Rob Mahan, engineer for Bucher, Willis & Ratliff of Salina, consultants to the city, said the water-plant upgrades are required by mandate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which approves the loan from the Kansas Public Water Supply Fund.

Mahan noted that efforts by the City of Marion to finance required water-plant improvement have been ongoing for some time. Earlier attempts to get grant funds were rejected.

Mahan said most communities in Kansas are in the same crunch-trying to meet the mandate with the only benefit in timing being that interest rates are low.

The Commission voted 3-0 to approve a contract with Tri-County Telephone Association Inc. for placement of four antennas on each of the City’s two water towers for high-speed wireless Internet service with signing at the meeting so Tri-County could begin work.

In payment, Tri-County will provide the city with five business Internet accesses. But Tri-County would have been willing to pay a $55-a-month fee in lieu of the hookups.

Mayfield clarified after questioning by Commissioner Jim Crofoot that the only outright improvement expense to the City will be networking of computers.

Commissioner Larry McLain noted later in the meeting that with the drop in payments the City makes to on-wire services and other expenses saved, and with the plan accepted, the City may realize a savings up to $5,000 annually.

The approval left open the same option for antenna placement by another wireless company, DTN SpeedNet.

The commission approved a proclamation declaring it Kaw Valley Center works for kids month in support of KVC activities such as a bicycle rally around the county and the reservoir to raise funds for its work in Marion County recruiting foster parents.

Mayfield outlined bids from the County Seat for different options to cover auditorium stairways, even though he said funds couldn’t be budgeted until 2005 because of the failure of the state to provide expected funding.

One option for $4.704.04 would cover three stairways, each side of the stage to the basement and from outside to the kitchen, with rubber covering.

The second option would cover only the first two stairways with rubber for $2,948.34 while the third would cover all three but with vinyl for $2,746.60.

Option four would again be only the first two stairways but with vinyl for $1,663.14.

Susan Cooper, development director, advised the commission that the developer of the new assisted-living facility to be built in Marion is doing it with all private conventional financing, while the City has provided tax abatement or other help to major businesses. She suggested the City consider some such benefit to the facility.

Janet Marler, librarian, said the library installed three children’s computers for educational compact discs last week, and also gave a tour to Kansas Railroad Club members from Andover, Manhattan and Newton.

The commissioners approved paying warrants for $83,128.17 and payroll for $22,868.70.

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