Marion commission OKs guarantee for assisted-living facility

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion City Commission Monday approved making a pledge of $25,000, guaranteeing default protection for bond investors in the assisted-living facility to be built north of the school bus barn.

But not without reluctance at being asked to do so late in the development plan.

Bob Brooks, developer of the facility, said as a result the city could expect to see construction begin sometime in November.

In putting the financing together, Brooks himself has guaranteed payment of bonds in lieu of investors doing so.

Bob Gibb of Chapman Securities, Wichita, said the guarantees were necessary to help his salesmen in selling bonds, and to satisfy increasingly tighter bank financing requirements.

Explaining the lateness in the development process of bringing the request to the city, Brooks, who has developed many such homes, said this was the first time he had been asked to make these kinds of guarantees.

David Mayfield, city administrator, said an initial cash deposit request instead of a pledge was impossible, given the tight 2003 budget and the lateness of the request.

Commissioners Jim Crofoot and Larry McLain joined in expressing dislike of “the surprise” in the request. But McLain added that “we need to protect local investors.”

City Attorney Dan Baldwin noted that the pledge actually was there to establish a level of confidence in the investment pool, and that as a “down-the-road guarantee he could find no legal objection to it.

After a 15-minute executive session, Mayfield announced that Cooper has resigned-effective later this month-as development director to pursue other offers.

He commended her for her five years in the job seeing the city through such developments as the library/depot project, finding water plant upgrade grant money, and the industrial parks.

Cooper said she has enjoyed the job.

A public hearing for the $400,000 grant applied for to finance the water-plant upgrade was held before the regular meeting, with no comments.

The commissioners approved an ordinance to vacate Second Street south of Water Street to correct ordinances that were written in the 1880s and 1920s, but never recorded.

Harvey Sanders, public works director, reported curb and guttering has been completed on the first block of Kellison, with work starting on the next block.

Cooper said the city is looking for people to develop and be available to service daily a government Web site for the city, with consideration to come at next week’s meeting.

Mayor Eloise Mueller presented a proclamation from the governor naming October 10-13 as “helping people with mental retardation days” in support of the Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll campaign to finance schools and agencies concerned with people with mental retardation.

The commissioners approved the September utility tie out.

They approved paying warrants for $25,270.63 and payroll for $23,985.70.

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