Marion audit passes cleanly

The Marion City Council learned during its April 25 meeting that no statutory or regulatory violations were discovered regarding its 2015 audit.

Jan Nolde, with Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd LLC, reviewed the audit report.

“We have no knowledge of any fraud or suspected fraud affecting the city of Marion,” Nolde said.

City Administrator Roger Holter said the only ongoing recommendation by the auditors was that the treasurer and clerk continue training on financial statement prep­aration.

Chickens

City Attorney Susan Robson presented a new ordinance regarding housing chickens within city limits.

“I put in the ordinance that more that six female chickens would be prohibited, and no roosters,” she said. “The ordinance also states limitation on property line—how close chickens are to adjacent dwellings, how close is chicken waste and chicken operations are prohibited.”

A person said after the April 11 meeting he didn’t want chickens living next door to him at all.

“It’s hard to keep chickens clean, and no one I talked to said they wanted chickens living next door to them,” he said.

“I am against chickens in city limits—that’s what farms are for,” he added.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said, “We will be talking about changes or recommendations to (Robson) at the May 9 council meeting.”

Property report

The council was updated on the property at 118 Freeborn St. Holter said Jason L. Schaeffers, grandson of Tony Schaeffers, bought the house from someone unable to make the needed repairs.

According to Holter, Schaeffers said he is fixing the basement wall and will be replacing the entire roof, damaged rafters and water lines. In addition, Schaeffers’ list included making a fully functional bathroom and kitchen, putting in 1/2-inch Sheetrock and additional electrical repairs.

“In the 24 hours he has owned the property,” Holter said, “he has removed debris in the yard, including damaged appliances inside the house.”

Holter said Schaeffers also replaced the back door to keep rodents and other animals out of the house; he is projecting it will take one year to complete the project.

The property had been scheduled for a May 11 demolition date, but that was with the previous owner.

Heitschmidt said he would like to suggest a performance bond, cash, certificate of deposit or some other guarantee that the homeowner will complete the repairs.

“We are two weeks before condemnation,” he said. “Instead of advancing these dates, we are not getting these properties repaired.”

Building inspector Marty Fredrickson was asked if Schaeffers’ list of repairs would bring the house to code; Fredrickson said “yes.”

Robson said she would check whether the city can insist on asking for performance bonds or other ways to ensure the work will be completed, along with an estimate of the costs involved.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• unanimously approved the appointment of these public officials: Robson as city attorney; Tiffany Jeffrey, city clerk; Rebecca Makovec, city treasurer; Michael Regnier, fire chief; Tyler Mermis, police chief; Randal Pankratz, municipal judge, and Holter, city administrator.

• approved razing the house at 118 W. Santa Fe.

• approved the VFW’s request for permit to sell fireworks, with Diana Williams representing the organization.

heard a request by Randy Collett, economic development director, for an industrial revenue bond proposal.

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