Marion council changes meeting schedule

The Marion City Council, in only its second meeting as successor to the old Marion City Commission, Monday voted to change its meeting time to 5:30 p.m. every other week on Mondays.

That would replace the city’s long-standing meeting time of 4 p.m. every Monday.

A major part of the rationale for the new time was to make it possible for workers interested in attending meetings to come after work.

There were several points made toward considering other meeting times. Councilman Gene Winkler suggested the appropriateness of paying overtime to city workers if they were required to come back to work in the evening.

City Manager David Mayfield confirmed for the councilmen that paying overtime for meetings could be done through the current budget.

Mayor Martin Tice advised that the later meeting time on Mondays could interfere with football games and other meetings.

City Clerk Angela Lange, asked for her opinion by councilmen, said having a small child at home would make it difficult for her to leave work, and then return at a later hour.

Councilman Bill Holdeman moved to make the meeting at 7 p.m. every other Monday, but his motion died for lack of a second.

Holdeman said he also would like Council meetings recorded, and a clergyman invited to open each meeting with a prayer.

Councilman Stacey Collett moved for a compromise of 5:30 p.m. every other Monday, Councilman Jerry Kline seconded, and the motion passed with Holdeman joining the latter two, and Tice and Winkler voting against.

The Council voted 5-0 to allow Development Director Jami Williams to seek business applicants for up to $25,000 in excess city development funds in business incentive grants from the 0.75 percent sales tax designated to pay industrial park bonds.

Williams said the funds would be for business cost sharing in projects that would benefit the youth or the elderly of the community as per a decision by the Marion Economic Development Council.

The funds could be dispensed for smaller projects in amounts from $2,500 to $5,000, or spent in one grand project to improve the downtown, she said. The Council would have to approve any applicant.

Williams said sales tax proceeds have been coming in at $30,000 annually excess needed for bond payment, and the trend is for the amount to go up.

Mayfield said about $106,000 annually is required for industrial park payment. He verified that funds can only be spent for economic development.

Jan Nolde gave the city audit report representing the accounting firm of Swindoll, Janzen and Loyd.

Weaknesses she noted in the report were a lack in segregation of duties-for instance the same utilities clerk handling both the billing and deposits; a lack of precise written procedure for legal and accounting matters; a lack of legal requirements for budget procedure; outstanding checks more than two years old not always written off in time required by the state; book valuation of pledged securities not always true and monitored; account transfers not always done without journal entries for accuracy and control; and payroll reviews not being done periodically.

Nolde said some of these weaknesses are explainable by smaller cities not having sufficient staff to attend to them all.

In discussing the new swimming pool to be built by the school district in cooperation with the city, Winkler asked if it isn’t true that someday the city will be asked to retake possession and operation of the pool.

Tice said that would probably happen in about 18 years.

The councilman voted 5-0 to appoint Collett as Council representative for oversight of pool construction.

The councilmen gave Davey Hett approval for him being in charge of a fireworks display for Chingawassa Days in June with Hett Construction Co. assuming some of the responsibility for workman’s compensation and liability.

Hett said the company providing fireworks would provide general liability.

Hett plans to to begin the display with a Niagara Falls fireworks display off the west walk of the water tower by the high school grounds with he and Mike Fruechting joining display providers in the work. The Falls would begin at the end of the last song of the Saturday night concert.

Victor Buckner, concrete contractor, asked that the city take bids on all concrete work with bids open to all.

Hett, who said his company has been working city concrete jobs for the last 28 years with only good reports, said many times jobs have been negotiated with his company doing the planning to help the city save money that might have been paid to engineers.

He said that if all jobs are let out for bids, the company doing plans should be fairly compensated for the engineering.

Collett asked how much money is involved before the city usually goes to bids, and Mayfield replied that jobs under $2,000 usually are just solicited.

Ralph Kreutziger, who works for Hett doing company planning, said in his personal opinion, that if the Council wants to go to bids, it should go to bids by invitation only in order to keep the business local and reliable. He said that open advertising for bids could bring in an out-of-state company as low bidder with job quality in question.

Holdeman asked what had happened on a new concrete curb and gutter project that had been proposed at an approximate cost of $50,000.

Street Superintendent Marty Fredrickson said it had been put on hold to allow the new Council to take office, and make the decision.

Mayfield said a new ordinance on bidding could be created. Klein suggested the matter be tabled for consideration, and Tice tabled it for two weeks.

Peggy Blackman presented new information on her work with the Marion Watershed Comprehensive Study Task Force, and told the Council that city cost sharing funds may be necessary in the future to help save Marion Reservoir from sedimentation.

Kline was approved 5-0 as Council representative to the task force.

Collett corrected the minutes to say he had voted against approving annual city appointments as presented last week.

Mayfield said he would go to a meeting at Ft. Riley Tuesday to learn about Army housing incentives for communities within 50 miles of the Fort, which includes Marion, to prepare for the full return of the 1st Infantry Division.

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said his crew is dealing with resetting two utility poles that blew over in the last week.

The Council gave the owner of a home at 110 S. Lincoln two weeks to decide what to do with the structure that faces possible city condemnation.

Fredrickson said the city would like more public participation in cleanup week this week.

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