MARION: Resident suggests city buy reflective markers

by Patty Decker

The Free Press

City of Marion resident Bill Keith asked councilors to consider buying reflective road markers indicating where fire hydrants are located at the Monday meeting.

?Not all the fire truck drivers know where the hydrants are located,? Keith said.

Adding the reflective blue pavement marker in the middle of the street, situated across from a hydrant, not only will help firefighters but could also reduce the city?s insurance premiums, he said.

Keith said the city has 100 fire hydrants and each marker would cost $6. Included in the price, he said, is an installation kit.

The raised pavement road markers are reflective from both directions and are easy to install.

The adhesive butyl double-sided pad requires peeling one side that sticks to the road surface and the marker is applied by peeling the other side.

It provides quick identification of hydrant locations that can be vital in case of fire emergencies.

The total cost to buy the reflective markers would be $900. Keith also suggested how the city could pay for them.

?Each month, the city sends out about 1,000 utility bills and if every household gave 50? or $1 as a donation, we would have enough money to purchase the markers,? he said.

City Administrator David Mayfield said he thought Keith?s idea was proactive and could work.

Angela Lange, city clerk, said she could get notices ready prior to the September billing if the council agreed to the idea.

Councilor Bill Holdeman asked what happens if the city replaces streets after the markers are placed.

Once the initial markers are placed on the streets, Mayfield said, the city could begin including the markers in the budget as part of routine maintenance.

Keith said that if each household made a donation, he figured the city could initially buy 150 markers. That would more than cover damage to markers caused by street repairs or other unforeseeable problems.

With questions still pending on how well the reflective markers would hold up on ice-covered streets, being run over by snow plows or other risks, councilors decided against asking residents for donations at this time.

Once questions are answered to the council?s satisfaction and more research is concluded, Mayfield said, he and Lange would be ready to include a notice in the utility bills.

In other council business:

? Councilor Gene Winkler asked Doug Kjellin, city economic development director and member of mYac, what was the status of the youth center building, by-laws.

Kjellin said the core committee had gotten through the guidelines and will be ready to ratify at their next meeting which begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, in the basement of Marion City Hall. Anyone interested in a center for young people is welcome. As for the building, Kjellin said the group is looking at its options.

? Councilor Stacey Collett asked Chief of Police Josh Whitwell about a cadet program and when it started at the police department. Whitwell said he had two high school students interested in a work/study program.

?We are treating it like a cadet program,? Whitwell said, ?but in another way.?

Mayor Mary Olson said she was happy to see Whitwell and the rest of his department helping students gain experience and maybe even find their niche.

? Rose Mary Saunders with Ranson Financial of Wichita reviewed the 2010 Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant for installing water line improvements during a public hearing held prior to the council meeting.

The grant application is due by Sept. 30 and by June 2010, following an environmental review by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, approximately 3,000 feet of pipe will be ready for installation.

The water lines will be replaced in the Highland Street area, which includes South Roosevelt from Melvin; east on Highland; south between Roosevelt and Freeborn and Freeborn and Coble Streets.

The total for installing new water lines using PVC pipe and replacing the 1940-era cast iron pipes will be $102,703. If the CDBG is approved, 50 percent of the cost will be paid through the Kansas Department of Commerce. The grant also requires the city to have sufficient money in its 2010 water system operation and maintenance budget for continual improvements on the system when completed, Saunders said.

Lange said $299,828 is budgeted for 2010 for operation and maintenance.

The remaining 50 percent or $51,351 will be through the KDHE Revolving Loan Fund.

? Councilors approved Lange?s request to seek bid proposals from other auditing firms.

? Mayfield was appointed the city?s voting delegate at the Kansas League of Municipalities meeting in Topeka.

? Marty Fredrickson, director of streets, said clean up work has been slow on Cedar Street because of rain. ?Some of the detour signs have been pulled, but speed limits and other city signs still need to be posted.?

? City offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 7, for the Labor Day holiday and councilors approved moving the next meeting to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.

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