Marion council hears trucker?s perspective

Following up on the Oct. 3 Marion City Council meeting regarding a proposed semi-trailer truck parking ordinance, councilors heard from those directly involved in the incident.

The idea of considering a new ordinance was prompted by a truck-tractor jumping the curb into State Farm Insurance company?s front yard in late September, and Lisa Anderson of Marion asked to speak about the matter.

In explaining their side, Anderson said her husband had been gone for six weeks, the longest time they had ever been apart.

?I was standing on the front porch waiting for him to come home.

?When he saw me, he couldn?t help himself but to pull into our yard and, yes, he went over the curb trying to show courtesy to stay off State Farm?s property (822 E. Main St.), but at this point being gone so long, all he wanted was a hug from his wife and family,? she said.

In her written statement, she also asked the council to consider common sense in their decision-making.

?Common sense tells me that if our council is going to make an ordinance where a driver isn?t allowed to come home and park in his own driveway or on his own land without getting a permit, we will probably lose a lot of fine citizens of Marion,? she said. ?We certainly won?t be getting any new families of drivers moving in.?

Anderson also stated she thinks the problems included a lack of respect or courtesy in not contacting them about the problem. She also thought a lot of time has been wasted on this issue when a two-minute telephone call might have resolved the matter.

Anderson stated she thought it was sad that the council has spent so much time on a proposed ordinance she believes was directed toward them and in a short time, the issue will be a moot point.

?My husband soon will be taking his pickup to where he works and won?t even bring his tractor home anymore,? she stated.

Whatever action comes from the council?s discussion, Anderson stated, will not affect them, but it will affect other drivers and their families living in Marion.

If the city council should decide to move forward on the parking ordinance, she stated she would talk with other drivers and their families and sign a petition opposing any change in tractor unit parking.

Proposed ordinance

The new ordinance would state that any truck parked for more than 45 minutes on any public street could be ticketed.

The ordinance also stated that no truck shall be allowed to have its engine running for more than 45 minutes while parked within any residential district, and that no truck on any street will block the lanes of traffic or hinder the free flow from either direction.

A truck may park parallel to the curb on the Main Street for loading and unloading purposes, provided that the truck does not remain any longer than 45 minutes.

It was also noted that no truck or trailer can be parked within any residential area, including private drive, within the city without a truck trailer parking permit.

The following requirements will be investigated and considered by the city in making a determination of whether a permit will be granted. Those include:

? trucks and trailers parked only on private property and access to the parking area must not cross any city improvements that could sustain damage;

? street access to the property must be approved by the street superintendent with no heavy trucks on streets not conducive to its weight;

? the owner/operator must have a petition signed by 100 percent of the residential property owners with a 200-foot radius of the property proposed for truck-trailer parking;

? only one truck or trailer per permit is allowed; and

? property must have electricity available for the tractor.

Mayor Mary Olson thanked Anderson for her input and encouraged others to let the city council know their thoughts and views on the subject.

Olson added that no decision on the proposed ordinance would be made for at least two months in order to give the public a chance to speak up on this issue.

Stricter emissions

City administrator Doug Kjellin advised the council about the Environmental Protection Agency?s issuance of a stricter emissions requirement for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines or RICE, which is a new bill currently in the U.S. Senate.

Under the proposed EPA requirement, not likely to go into effect until June 2012 if approved, would be for all diesel, gas and natural gas RICE generators would need to be retrofitted with additional catalytic and exhaust gas scrubbers.

Because the city is considering a resolution to contract with the Kansas Power Pool for the purchase of electricity, the KPP is asking member cities to assist in pay for RICE emission upgrades.

At this point, the KPP has come up with two options for assisting in this EPA mandate, Kjellin said.

Those include participating in a 10-year KPP financing for the RICE upgrades or prepaying a pro rata share of the upgrades prior to financing.

The council, by a vote of 3-2, favored the prepayment option, but also understood the contract is non-binding, but will give KPP an idea of what member cities are considering, he said.

In other business, the council:

? approved a request by Police Chief Josh Whitwell proclaiming the week of Oct. 22 through Oct. 30 as Red Ribbon Week.

? unanimously approved a resolution on the sale of general obligation refunding bonds based on discussion and a presentation by Rose Mary Saunders, Ranson Financial, regarding the city?s debt and fiscal stability. Because the city has a good standing, Saunders said, refunding redemption of the bonds would give the city a better interest rate.

However, if the bids are unfavorable, Saunders said the council is under no obligation.

? accepted the resignation of Municipal Judge Bryson Mills. Following the resignation, the council went into two executive sessions, totaling 15 minutes, to discuss personnel. In open session, the council took no action, but did decide to begin the search in and outside the county for a replacement municipal judge.

? directed Kjellin to be specific on what line item the money would be taken from to fund the electrical system mapping. In addition, Councilor Steve Smith asked Kjellin to check on how long the opportunity was available for a grant paying 70 percent of the cost.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Oct. 31.

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