Marion to explore higher cable fee for city

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
City Attorney Dan Baldwin will look into whether the City of Marion can collect any fee above the basic 3 percent from Galaxy Cablevision before renewing a 20-year contract beginning in May 2006, the City Commission decided Monday.

At a public hearing for the cablevision renewal, commissioners noted the extended services such as Internet access that have come along since cable first came to Marion, and wondered if the city could receive more.

In response to questions, Baldwin noted the 3 percent already paid is supposed to pay for Galaxy’s access to such things as city utility poles for lines. The city’s share is deducted from whenever the company has Marion customers who don’t pay the cable bill contracted for, he said.

Baldwin said his investigation may show the fee for the city share is negotiable.

In response to a request from Darryl Thiesen, Marion County emergency medical services director, commissioners voted 3-0 to fund $430 each, $280 for eight credit hours plus $150 for books, to fund two persons from Marion who have already decided to take an EMT-I class in Hutchinson.

Thiesen said the class give Marion two EMTs certified for administering intravenous treatments such as albuterol treatments, intubating patients, and starting therapy per EMS protocols. The county would be paying a higher portion than the city for the class, he said, at $488 per student.

The commissioners had been discussing waiting to make a decision when Commissioner Jim Crofoot said, “I think it’s a really good idea to provide some funding. It’s hard enough to get somebody to do the job, and if they’re willing to better their training with this class-we’re all going to need them someday.”

Harvey Sanders, public works director, said the city crew has begun trimming trees up to an 18-foot high clearance level along streets, beginning on North Locust, to enable unimpeded passage of large vehicles such as tour buses and trucks. He added that any property owners who want to trim the trees themselves are welcome to contact the city about it.

The commissioners decided to hold next Monday’s meeting at 10 a.m. instead of the usual 4 p.m. so they all could be there.

Mayor Eloise Mueller said she and the mayor of Hillsboro were both invited to the Dec. 16 meeting at Marion Reservoir to offer input into a congressional add funding of $357,000 for upgrading of Cottonwood Point.

The commissioners approved Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, purchasing a street department pickup truck from the Kansas Highway Patrol Fleet Management program in January as planned in the city’s five-year capital plan for purchase in 2004.

The purchase is being made from the city’s equipment reserve fund, which Fredrickson said stands at $77,308. The truck will replace an existing truck.

The commissioners approved license renewals of five cereal malt beverage licenses, one class “A” club license, 14 electrical licenses, one vendor’s license and one video license.

City Administrator David Mayfield said he and Baldwin met with Bob Brooks, developer of the new assisted living facility to be built by the rodeo club on Eisenhower, to find out beginning of construction has been delayed because the engineering firm on the project also is working on the Sedgwick County Coliseum project, so they are behind.

Brooks said he was changing street and lot plans to reduce costlier street length by asking for a gravel cul-de-sac easement from the city at the water tower.

Brooks said the plan would change location of proposed patio homes, and use a gravel road he will build at the rear of the facility for emergency vehicle access.

The commissioners approved signing a document acknowledging notification from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System that beginning in 2004 the city’s contribution rate to the Kansas Police and Fire fund for its police department employees will be 9.47 percent.

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