Marion could leave Westar and join Kansas Power Pool

by Patty Decker

The Free Press

Marion City Councilors will be weighing the pros and cons to either stay with the current supplier of electricity or change to another power source following a review of the situation at Monday?s meeting.

The city has a contract with Westar Energy until July 2010, said David Mayfield, city administrator.

He also recommended the councilors consider switching to the Kansas Power Pool, which would be the alternative supplier of electricity.

Even before Marion can make the switch, a study is required making sure the city has the capabilities to receive electricity from KPP transmission and delivery lines.

?The study,? Mayfield said, ?cannot be done until the city becomes a member of the pool.?

The KPP study would cost about $1,150.

Mayfield said this is somewhat of an urgent matter since the study takes about one year, which is cutting it close to the Westar Energy?s contract renewal time.

?There is a catch if we join KPP and that is we would need to buy a meter for $15,000,? Mayfield said.

?This is real time metering, though, which would let us know how much power is being used.?

In other business:

One of the reasons Mayfield is recommending the KPP over Westar has to do with longevity of the contract.

Westar, he said, will only do a 30 year contract and has the authority to increase costs as high as 30 percent.

The councilors plan to look at information provided by Mayfield and others take action at the Monday, March 2, regular meeting of the council.

In other council business:

? FFA president Mark Kukuk, Ryan Jones, sentinel, and Louis Holt, reporter, also students at Marion High School, attended the council meeting Monday to request the city of Marion join in the national effort to proclaim Feb. 21-28 as FFA week by signing the document.

?Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve,? is the FFA motto, Louis read.

The organization promotes leadership, personal growth and career success among its members.

?Agricultural education and the FFA ensure a steady supply of young professionals to meet the growing demands in science, business and technology of agriculture,? Holt read.

In addition to the city?s acknowledgement honoring FFA Week, Holt said the group has planned an auction and ag olympics later in the week. For more information about activities, call 1-382-2168.

? Doug Kjellin, economic development director, Mayfield and Casey Case were in Topeka Thursday, Feb. 19, to attend insurance for municipalities.

Mayfield said he thought the conference provided good information.

?Several key points were recognized and we may better protect the assets of our city,? Kjellin said.

In his report, Kjellin also said he went to a meeting designed to determine the state?s economic development agency regarding long-range business incentive packages to lure businesses to Kansas.

He also attended the Biz Expo in Newton saying that some 30 exhibitors were there covering a wide area of businesses.

? Margo Yates, director of the Chamber of Commerce, reported on tourism and the recreation commission.

She said baseball and softball registration is beginning. Soccer registration will be after Marion Public School?s spring break.

Yates said there has also been discussion on whether the swim team might expand now that Marion has an indoor pool.

Other activities coming up included summer theater, golf, gymnastics, dance classes and a Fathers? Day event at Marion Municipal Airport.

? The next meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 2, in council chambers at Marion City Hall, 200 S. Third St. For an agenda or more information, call Angela Lange, city clerk, 620-382-2185.


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