Resurfacing of cat-licensing issue met with humor by commission

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
by

The Free Press

Bill Holderman seemed to let the cat out of the bag at the Marion City Commission meeting Monday with his suggestion of new dog licensing fees with cat licensing to be of equal importance.

At least the suggestion of cat licensing surfaced a lot of humor in the room.

City Attorney Dan Baldwin suggested the last time cat licensing was raised as a topic, it was made a rule that the next citizen who brought it up should be named the city’s new cat catcher.

When it was asked how many cats might be in Marion, one spectator said, “There are 32 just within 100 yards of my place,” but then thought better to come forward and ask that his name be removed from the cat commenting ranks. After all, he still has to work in Marion, he said.

But cat comedy aside, Holderman said cat owners should pay the same fees as dog owners. He suggested the commission look at rates charged in other cities where dogs that are neutered incur half the charges, with the same going for cats.

Holderman said not to forget that cats should have rabies shots, too.

Margo Yates, reporting for the Marion Chamber of Commerce, said it became apparent to volunteers running Marion’s booth at the Kansas Sampler Festival last weekend that Chingawassa Days is taking hold as Marion’s No. 1 tourist attraction. In former years, there were comparatively more questions about the lakes, she said.

Some 300 exhibits and 6,600 people were part of the festival, Yates said. “The people there really wanted to see what Kansas has to offer,” she said. “It was better for us than the state fair.”

In response to a request from Yates to allow the Kansas Bikers’ Club, a motorcycling group, to use Central Park for its annual meeting July 16, Commissioner Jim Crofoot said to tell them the commissioners welcome them back.

The commissioners said they can’t refuse park entry to any responsible people because it is a public park.

Linda Ogden, administrator for the Communities in Schools program, brought news that shows the program, grouped with other like programs, is having an effect in combatting substance abuse and poverty among young people.

She said a 2005 Communities That Care student survey showed that, for students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12, 57 percent have never used alcohol, the lowest number ever recorded.

Other lowest numbers included 78 percent who have never smoked tobacco, 97 percent who have not smoked marijuana in the last 30 days, and 93 percent who have not smoked tobacco in the last 30 days.

In the lowest figures recorded since 1996, 88 percent had never smoked marijuana, and 97 percent had not used an inhalant to get high in the last 30 days.

The commissioners awarded $1,000, the same as last year, for support of CIS.

The commissioners awarded a $115,536 bid package for curbing, guttering and surfacing with 6 inches of concrete on Lawrence Street to Hett Construction Co. The city will provide fill dirt behind curbs and gravel behind aprons as cost savings on the project.

The commissioners voted 2-0 to move forward with issuing general obligation bonds to replace outstanding electric and water bonds.

They approved the 2004 audit report as presented by Jan Nolde of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd. No violations were reported.

Nolde said the report recommended segregation of duties in the smaller office setting; the city has to provide a system of checks and balances.

The commissioners approved epoxy repair by Liquid Engineers of a water tower at a minimum $800 for the first four hours labor plus $350 an hour thereafter with a maximum eight hours.

City Administrator David Mayfield said he received a letter April 22 from Rural Development announcing authorization for release of funds next week for Marion water plant upgrade for $1,340,000 in loan money and $500,000 in grant money.

Street Superintendent Marty Fredrickson said water-plant output might have to be reduced from 550 gallons to 400 gallons a minute to hold water nearer the plant for a longer time for chlorination byproducts dissipation.

He said this means a cost and inconvenience to the city and its employees of longer work hours at the plant to produce the same amount of water.

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