Marion council hears library initiative at Jan. 30 meeting

The Marion City Council received a year-end report presented by Janet Marler, director of the library at the Jan. 30 meeting.

The information ranged from comparisons and statistics in 2015 and 2016 to events, programs and how patrons use the facility.

“It’s quite a variety,” Marler said.

Circulation was down about 6 percent from the previous year, she said. After discussing ideas with members of the Library Board, Marler said something new is being added this year.

“Marion Reads” is a way to involve everyone in the community, Marler said. “It is further intended to engage friends, neighbors and families to share their experience while reading the same book.”

Marler also recognized Randy Collett, the city’s economic development director, and one of the library board members, for choosing the first book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” by J.D. Vance.

Collett said the book is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans.

Marler said she has eight copies of the 200-page book available for check-out. A discussion is planned at 7 p.m. March 6 for those interested in sharing their experiences while reading the book.

New police radios

Police Chief Tyler Mermis and City Administrator Roger Holter discussed the 800 MHz proposal through the RELM company.

“The county is saying we are going to a new system and we are getting closer to a time frame,” Holter said.

Originally, the price for 800 MHz radios through Motorola was more than $100,000, he said.

With the RELM proposal, Mermis said the cost would be $53,000, but closer to $40,000 because of a USDA Rural Development grant paying 35 percent of the cost.

“With the chief’s assistance, we found a quality product that lowers the cost considerably and we would like to move forward by creating a grant application to USDA Rural Development,” Holter said.

The council approved Holter’s request to apply for the grant.

In an effort to coordinate all county public safety agencies, a meeting is planned at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Marion Community Center.

MAC project proposal

Margo Yates, director of parks and recreation, talked about remodeling the community center basement with $13,000 support from the Marion Advancement Campaign.

Holter said once the basement remodel is completed with video conferencing, the city will have three venues.

“The ballroom can handle 250 people and the (Marion High School) Performing Arts Center can handle 550,” he said. “We are aiming the basement toward smaller businesses that don’t have telecommunication capabilities.”

Yates said there would also be audio equipment, and there is a private room off to the side.

The council approved the remodel proposal in conjunction with MAC as presented.

Other business

In other business, the council:

— discussed Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance rate map updates. The county is having a meeting Feb. 15 to talk about the steps that are needed to certify a levy system. Holter said the city of Florence hasn’t started its accreditation process. Marion spent about $300,000 on levy accreditation work that started in 2012, he said.

— approved Mayor Todd Heit­schmidt’s appointments of Bill Darrow and Mary Griffith to the Museum Board, and Laurie Holub, Bill Smithhart, Mary Griffith and Linda Kroupa to the Library Board. Three vacancies remain available: Board of Zoning Appeals, Housing Authority and Hilltop Manor Board.


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