Marion city holds line on tax increases, except for library

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Auditor Jan Nolde told the Marion City Commission that the 2004 budget it approved Monday reflected $82,321 in lost revenues over two years normally paid the city by the State of Kansas-but still held the line on taxes with the only increase of up to 8 mills for the library.

The library increase from just over 4 mills also was approved by ordinance Monday.

Nolde, who works for the firm of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, said the city did receive $9,285-one half of the state funds it budgeted for-in 2002. But the state figure is zero for 2003 and 2004.

Nolde said assessed property valuation for the city is estimated down by $5,000 the end of June as compared with November 2002.

The budget was achieved by going over expenditures and estimates department by department, she said.

Commissioners questioned a decline in a KOPS grant from $30,000 in 2003 to $24,700 in 2004 for a new police officer, but Police Chief Michel Soyez said it reflects expectation of gradual decline of the three-year $75,000 grant.

Development Director Susan Cooper said later in the meeting that the city is being encouraged by state agencies to apply for 80 percent state/20 percent local cost sharing grants to help meet needs due to the recent Marion Reservoir algae bloom crisis.

Some of those funds could be used for improvements at the water plant, she said, and she is still seeking community development grant funds also to help at the water facility.

Cooper said the last time the city sought a grant, state officials were impressed by the large turn-out of commissioners and department heads in Topeka.

Cooper said persons in the community are working together to put an art gallery in the old Elgin Hotel to benefit artists and the public as well as to draw tourists.

Harvey Sanders, public works director, said that last week the city crew completed installation of new aerators at the lagoons. City workers also removed trees from power lines they supply to the old quarry south of the city.

Librarian Janet Marler said new landscapers are ready to begin improvements at the library.

Rocky Hett, observer at the meeting, asked the city to consider placing an antique thrashing machine between Cooperative Grain and the library for a nostalgic touch “and windbreak.”

Ryan Walker, one of the city workers at the water plant during the algae crisis, thanked Mayor Eloise Mueller for bringing brownies and cookies down during the extra work time.

Soyez said officers have investigated 18 properties this week in violation of the junk-vehicle ordinance that will be turned over to the city attorney for prosecution if the owners don’t comply within 14 days.

He said officers are also receiving many complaints about skunks in town, but frequently fail in attempts to shoot the animals because the risk of damaging property in the line of fire.

Soyez attended the Kansas Police Administrators Seminar at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Yoder last week with worthwhile learning in current law changes, administration methods and ideas.

The commissioners approved ordinances adopting the 2003 Standard Traffic Offense code book and the 2003 Uniform Public Offense Code issued by the Kansas League of Municipalities.

They approved the June financial statement, the June investment and collateral report, and the quarterly financial statement.

They approved transfer of $68,411.67 from the capital improvement fund to the bond and interest fund for debt service.

City Administrator David Mayfield said the transfer is the excess funds from the bond revenue for the industrial park improvements.

“We are required to apply this revenue to the debt within 18 months after the project was completed, and the 18 months will expire ending in July,” he said.

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