Marion leaders OK process to demolish Marques house

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion City Commission Monday directed City Attorney Dan Baldwin to proceed with drawing up a resolution for condemnation of a home at 1018 Denver St. owned by Donald Marques, a Florida resident.

City Inspector Marty Fredrickson said letters to Marques have generated no response.

Jim Davis, who has done heating system work at the home, said the city’s attempts at communication fail, just as his own have at seeking payments, because Marques isn’t at the last address given for him, where a woman who identifies herself as his ex-wife says she no longer wishes to be contacted.

Fredrickson said the home has no plumbing, and needs drainage lines repaired. Fredrickson said a carport needs to be repaired, and has developing holes in the roof.

City Manager David Mayfield said a gas company check of lines to the house showed all gas lines would need to be replaced.

Baldwin said before demolition, any property of value in the house should be placed in storage, and Davis should be allowed to retrieve property installed by him.

Gene Winkler, reporting for the Chingawassa Days Committee, said a well-known country-rock singer has made verbal commitment to headline the June event. However, the performer won’t be announced until a written contract is signed.

Winkler said this will be the ninth year for the event, and it is hoped money will be made for a bigger 10-year celebration. New events this year might include a Friday “Fear Factor” type program and a Saturday motorcycle poker run.

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said the city greatly appreciated help from the state and the county in the cleanup from the ice storm.

He said the city has hauled 1,736 cubic yards of tree debris from the storm, and the Kansas Department of Transportation hauled an additional 2,616 cubic yards in helping the city.

Mayfield said some city residents still have limbs down in their yards, and the city needs them to realize that the city crew can only pick up limbs if they are moved to city right of way on a street curb or alley. That is the only way the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the city, he said.

The city needs to be called when residents have moved limbs and sawed wood to the curb for pickup because workers can’t continue going out looking for pickups, he said.

Mayfield noted that the city is only allowed to remove tree debris in yards when it is interfering with electrical service. Electrical crews are beginning a long process of removing potentially dangerous limbs that overhang streets, sidewalks or alleys, he added.

The city has mailed letters to seven residents notifying them that they have seven days to have an electrician repair their meter cans damaged by the storm or they will have electrical service disconnected with a reconnection fee necessary to restore it later, Mayfield said. Meter readers will be watching for additional such damage, he said.

Mayfield recommended removal of a cedar tree windrow three rows thick south of the swimming pool on city property. He said a limb from one of the trees fell on the Stika residence, and two trees will have to be removed to get to it. The windbreak also would have to be pruned severely to be left, he said.

Mayor Martin Tice and Commissioner Jim Crofoot said they wanted a chance to go look at the cedar windbreak before making a decision. Commissioner Larry McLain was absent.

Mayfield said a utility grapple attachment for the front end of the city’s skid loader had been “graciously loaned” by Deere Trail Implement to the city during the ice storm.

He recommended the city purchase it at a government discount price of $1,497 from Marion’s equipment reserve fund, and the commissioners concurred.

Mayfield said Blue Cross Blue Shield has quoted a 31 percent increase in insurance premiums for Marion due mainly to the average age of employees.

Librarian Janet Marler reported the library in 2004 added 1,186 new books, 170 new DVDs, 105 new videos, and 113 new audios for a total collection of 22,652.

The commissioners approved the quarterly financial statement, the December investment and collateral report, and the December financial statement.

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