Lights may go out on Marion tower

It could be lights out for one of Marion?s water towers after the Marion City Council was told the cost to keep it illuminated.

A decision is expected at the June 15, meeting.

The issue was introduced by Councilor Stacey Collett at the June 1 meeting. He said he spoke with Becky Makovec, city treasurer, who told him the utility bill for lighting the water tower averages anywhere from $50 to $200 a month, depending on the time of year.

He said if the water tower lights are not serving a specific purpose, then shutting them off would save money over the course of a year.

?Is there some sort of safety reason for the lights?? Collett asked.

Mayor Mary Olson agreed it is a lot of money to spend each month, but said she would miss the lights.

?I like seeing the water tower lit up,? she said, ?but this is a lot of money and we need to think on it.?

Harvey Sanders, director of public works, said at one time the water tower didn?t have lights. He thought they were put up between 1989 and 1994.

The biggest question, though, is whether the tower lights serve any useful purpose for the amount of money they cost.

City Administrator David Mayfield said the city does not have to light the tower.

?It?s just advertising,? he said.

Even though the word ?Marion? is lit up on the water tower and can be seen from U.S. Highway 56, councilors will need to decide its value.

Sanders said the tower lights are on a timer, but if the power goes off, it could shut the timer down, too.

?Maybe we could just cut the hours back on how long the lights are illuminated,? Olson said.

In either case, Councilor Steve Smith said the city needs to put money into the lettering to make it look decent.

The councilors also want to know before the June 15 meeting whether the tower is lit up all night or if the lights shut off at midnight.

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