Storm expenses estimated at $73,000 in Marion

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Last week’s ice storm already has cost the City of Marion an estimated $73,000 in fuel, equipment and employee overtime with expectations the bill could climb to $150,000, City Administrator David Mayfield told the Marion City Commission Monday.

Other than that, said Mayfield, who reported in coveralls because he has been out helping on the electrical work, the storm has been a study in worker dedication and neighborliness.

He explained that many of the 15-member city crew worked 40 hours straight without sleep to get order and electricity restored, and that many still are working 18-hour days with the tree trimming and limb removal that has followed.

Some members of the public responded to the work effort with sandwiches and cookies for the workers, he said.

The City of Herington sent one truck to help Marion on Tuesday and two on Wednesday, he said. The City of Hillsboro sent a truck to help on both Wednesday and Thursday. Crews from both those cities helped from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said most outages now either are “rehooks,” where more tree limbs have fallen on previously restored lines, or at homes where owners are away, and haven’t reported in.

Sanders commended Marion residents for being patient during the outage. He asked that those who have electricity leave porch lights on to help the city crew locate homes where electricity might be out.

Mayfield said residents can tree limbs to the tree dump 24 hours a day at no charge until further notice.

Mayfield expected to see eventual financial aid from Federal Emergency Management Aid, and perhaps immediate physical aid from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Commissioner Larry McLain said he has been impressed by the “upbeat attitude” of city employees working such long hours.

Mayfield noted that Mayor Martin Tice kept long hours overseeing needs during the outages.

The commissioners, in the absence of Commissioner Jim Crofoot, voted 2-0 to approve the December utility billing tie out presented by Clerk Becky Makovec. Makovec said 250 residential customers participated in Christmas lighting to receive a $10 discount on each electric bill.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin said he would be reopening condemnation hearings on a property on Denver Street, and that the Florida owners of the property have been notified

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