Marion leaders encouraged to hire city eco-devo director

Insurance costs for the City of Marion are increasing more than 3 percent, going from $96,278 in 2004 to $99,277 in 2005, the city commission learned Monday.

But the increase probably is moderate considering that blanket property coverage alone was increased $679,000 due to rising construction costs, according to Casey Case, representing Case & Son Insurance.

Case said the premium for the Butler County Community College building, which is on a separate schedule from other coverages, was at $2,564 through the city’s EMC Insurance Co. coverage.

Rates for other coverages including liability were basically flat, Case said, although auto rates actually declined $654.

Stan Thiessen of Hillsboro, a representative with the South Central Kansas Economic Development District, told commissioners he has been working with three businesses in Marion, one that wants to buy an existing business, one that wants to expand and one that would be a new business.

In doing so, Thiessen said he had considered that Marion has no full-time economic director now, although City Administrator David Mayfield in part fills the role. He offered to give his advice free in a city-sponsored meeting for “other people wanting to learn how to get into business.”

Commissioner Jim Crofoot said such a meeting should have Marion Chamber of Commerce sponsorship with participation open to all Chamber members.

Commissioner Larry McLain said, “I don’t even know who you are, but I’m for anything that will bring some business to town.”

Mayfield said a meeting could be held in the city building basement with interested parties invited to attend.

Thiessen advised commissioners to return to having a full-time economic director because they won’t be able to depend on the county director that is to be hired to do everything for them.

Mayor Martin Tice signed a contract for the city with Mike Regnier, naming him fire chief to succeed Thad Meierhoff, at an annual contract fee of $3,400 to be paid bi-weekly.

Mayfield said a permit is expected soon from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for upgrades at the water plant to meet Environmental Protection Agency guidelines with new ammonia treatment.

Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, said equipment is in place at the water plant for installation. He added that notice will be published for the public to allow time for obtaining chemicals to protect aquarium fish from effects of the ammonia.

Mayfield said he has purchased seven silver maple trees to replace trees damaged on city property during the ice storm with three planted in Central Park, one planted at East Park, and three planted behind the police station.

Mayfield said he will attend a Basic Public Information Officers Course June 21-23 in Winfield offered through Kansas Emergency Management at no charge plus reimbursement of $59 a day for lodging.

The course, recommended through Marion County Emergency Management, would qualify Mayfield to distribute information during emergencies.

The commissioners granted Hague Quality Water of Wichita a six-month vendor’s license to sell water treatment systems.

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