No word on state grant money for Marion watter plant

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Engineers doing the feasibility study for a wholesale water district combining Marion, Hillsboro and Peabody into one water plant were in Marion last week to take pictures and check water requirements, the Marion City Commission learned Monday.

City Administrator David Mayfield said he suspects Marion won’t hear back on a Rural Development grant for upgrading the current water plant to new Kansas Department of Health and Environment standards until after the study for the joint water district is completed in September.

He explained that the U.S. Department of Agriculture agency probably would rather know if it is going to help finance multiple small-town water plants or a single one, given that upgrades may happen every decade.

Mayfield said he told the engineers that Marion would want at least as much daily water capacity as its current plant is capable of producing.

Checking the records, he found that Marion’s peak usage in one day last year was 530,000 gallons.

Street Superintendent Marty Fredrickson confirmed that the city’s current water plant can process a million gallons in one day, but is limited by water flow from Marion Reservoir to 864,000 gallons in a 24-hour period.

“The bottom line” for Marion in the feasibility study, Mayfield said, “is how much it will cost our customers a thousand gallons, and what they will have to build because we will have to get the financing for it.”

In response to questioning from Commissioner Larry McLain on where the City of Hillsboro is at on water plant upgrade, Public Works Director Harvey Sanders and City Attorney Dan Baldwin replied that Hillsboro has acquired some financing, but the money probably is being held up for completion of the same feasibility study.

Sanders said the city crew has been setting a new transformer for electrical upgrades at the bowling alley and patching Eisenhower Street where it was dug up for lines to the new assisted-living facility.

The commissioners approved a resolution for public hearing at 4 p.m. Oct. 4 regarding property identified as dangerous, unsafe or unfit for human habitation at 1018 East Denver.

Fire Chief Thad Meijerhoff reported fire department activities.

Commissioners approved a $20,000 transfer from the utility fund to the equipment reserve fund “for the purpose of future purchases.”

City Clerk Linda Holub presented $5,329.10 in warrants, which were approved by commissioners for payment.

The commissioners ended the meeting with a 10-minute executive session for personnel.

The city offices will be closed Sept. 6 for Labor Day.

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