Research under way to change Marion leadership from commission to council

City Attorney Dan Baldwin told the Marion City Commission Monday that since returning from vacation he has begun research on changing Marion to a mayor-council form of government.

He needs another week for research, Baldwin said, but he has turned up facts and procedures that may make it possible for a group led by former Mayor Eloise Mueller to replace three commissioners with five council members, with both forms including the mayor as a voting member.

Baldwin said the question on which form of city government to take could be put on the ballot for voters to decide, perhaps as early as the November election, by passing a resolution by the commission or by filing a petition of at least 10 percent of the city electors.

According to attorney general opinions, Baldwin said, a city may change to mayor-council government from commission government under home rule.

Baldwin said the mayor-council form is the oldest in Kansas with 557 of 627 cities operating under it in 1990. The commission form reached its peak of popularity with 45 cities in 1915 dropping to 15 in 1990.

Commissioner Max Hayen said he had checked with a peer in Cherryvale who has served in both commission and council forms of government, and that person had preferred the council form.

Mayor Martin Tice asked Baldwin to check whether the question could be added to the November election.

Margo Yates reported for the Marion Recreation Commission that 264 kids participated in softball and baseball this summer; 87 kids went out for swim team and 29 kids participated in summer theater, Yates said.

She said the rec is ready to come to the commission with designs for improving the A Field dugout. Baseball boosters have raised $1,500 for the project, she said.

Yates said, with boosters’ help, hosting the baseball tournament generated $4,000 income, pending any more bills.

Yates is getting ready to publicize this year’s basketball program with the required fee of $20 per player.

She said she is “excited” by the opportunities offered by a new dance studio in town that also offers adult aerobics and has plans to expand to gymnastics and karate.

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said the electricity was supposed to be shut off at midnight Monday to enable going back to the “old substation.”

The city crew received a thank-you card from September Apartments for its efforts to restore

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