The Marion City Council at its meeting Oct. 1 approved changing the auditing firm of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball to Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd Accounting.
Even though ABBB was the lower bid, the council by a vote of 4-1 was in favor of returning to its former auditing firm.
Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd submitted a bid of $16,000 for the 2012 audit, $16,500 in 2013 and $17,000 in 2014.
ABBB submitted bids of $10,500 for 2012, $10,750 in 2013 and $11,000 in 2014.
Scott Loyd with the firm of SJH&L was present at the meeting and thanked the council for its confidence. No representative from ABBB attended.
“What we feel we bring to the table,” Loyd said, “is expertise because all we do is city, county and school government.”
Other firms, he said, choose to do tax, and while his firm also does tax, he and his staff of seven don’t personally do it.
“I am also no stranger to Marion City having been here since 1986,” he said.
Loyd said there is a price difference between the two accounting firms, but that the council needs to look at whether members are buying a commodity or buying a product.
The vote was 4 to 1 in favor of SJH&L with Councilman Jerry Kline dissenting.
City Administrator Doug Kjellin talked about Central Park’s sewer lift station not working Saturday during Old Settlers’ Day activities
“Kiwanis Club (members) had gone in prematurely to put tents up and driven spikes in close to where the direct burial cable runs to the gazebo,” he said.
The park did have 220 volts at the box on Saturday, but the pump did not engage.
When it was pumped down a small obstruction was found in pump, Kjellin said.
“There was still a question of it running, but in removing the spike from the Kiwanis tent,” he said, “shockingly nobody got electrocuted.”
However, crews did believe that maybe the spike hit a direct burial wire causing it to arc and when it was removed, it reestablished the breaker on the lift station, which is now running.
“At this point, the gazebo is back up and operational again,” Kjellin said.
“We need to make sure that if anyone drives a stake in that park, they need to let city people know,” he said.
Kjellin said crews were planning two days prior to Old Settlers’ Day to mark it.
Apparently, he said, with rumors of rain expected, the decision by the Kiwanis was to go ahead and put in the stakes.
“We weren’t notified of that and (Kiwanis members) just put stakes in without contacting us.”
Kjellin said that from a public service announcement/standpoint and, for everyone’s own safety, do not drive anything in the park without notifying the city first.
“Thank goodness somebody wasn’t hit with 220 volts on the service line to the gazebo,” he said.
“We put a multi-meter on two pegs for shock hazard to keep from electrocuting someone down there,” he said.
Gas fumes in police station
Police Chief Tyler Mermis wrote council members a letter regarding gas fumes coming from the city’s fire station into the police department’s office.
“Someone came in last week and asked me where those fumes were coming from,” Mermis said.
The person then asked Mermis if he knew that longtime exposure to those type of fumes can cause cancer.
“I never looked into this,” Mermis said, “but I did some research asking if we can put in an exhaust fan somewhere in the fire department to blow those fumes out elsewhere instead of in the police department.”
Mermis said he would be glad to spend a long time in Marion working for the police department rather than going to his own funeral because of the fumes.
“I am sure Clinton (Assistant Chief Jeffrey) and the rest of guys feel the same way,” he said.
Mayor Mary Olson said she remembers her and Councilor Stacey Collett talking about this same issue maybe four years ago.
“Enough said,” Olson said regarding Mermis’ request for a solution.
Kjellin said they are looking into an attic fan or soffit and requesting one rated for explosion proof because of the flash capability.
The council, in other business:
• approved resolution authorizing the offering for sale of general obligation refunding and improvement bonds for street and levee improvements. The council is expected to know set rates at its next meeting Oct. 15.
• approved paying Evans-Bierly Hutchison & Associates $4,000 on Jex Addition sewer project from Aug. 26 to Sept. 22 for professional services.
• received a report from Bill Smithhart, Harlow Warneke and Ed Wheeler, levee appraisers, assigned to review and determine ultimate benefactors of the structure.
In their report, they agreed the Marion Levee System benefits the entire community and not any particular group.
• approved a public hearing for Oct. 15 for levee finance and bond funds.
• accepted Marion National Bank’s proposal for a three-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2015.
• went into executive session for attorney-client privilege.
• went into executive session for trade secrets in discussing Arlie’s Paint Body & Glass building.
The next council meeting is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15.