Marion board advised to consult independent

In what some participants viewed as a strange twist, the Marion City Council Monday authorized the city?s Board of Appeals to get an attorney to protect its members? interests in a case at 316 Grant St., where their interests may differ from the city?s.

There were suggestions from the council that the board use City Attorney Dan Baldwin, but Baldwin suggested an outside attorney might be in everybody?s interest to keep the case from going to district court.

The council met with Bald?win for 15 minutes in executive session to discuss the case. Afterward, Baldwin told Marion ?Nick? Nickelson, board chair, that the city would pay for an outside lawyer for the board for ?advice and counsel? for no more than eight hours at up to $150 an hour.

Nickelson said the case involves allegations that the zoning administrator, the city administrator and the council acted outside the bounds of their authority.

Councilor Steve Smith told Nickelson he hoped the board would feel free to consult Baldwin in future events without asking council permission.

Merle Brunner complained to the council about the build-up of semi-truck traffic on Cedar Street when it passes through a residential area.

Council members and City Administrator David Mayfield all said the street is a designated county-to-city link, and therefore legal for semi traffic. They promised Brunner they would seek a Kansas Department of Trans?portation traffic count, and advice on any action.

The council discussed raising building permit fees and cemetery fees, but left it to Baldwin and Mayfield to come up with rates and ordinance wording for their consideration.

Mayfield said Marion?s building permit fee of $25 compares to cities of the same size that have a base charge with per square foot rate that frequently takes fees to more than $300.

Council members said they did want fees to cover time and expense of employees involved.

The council decided to raise the fee for a fireworks booth from $25 to $100, and to follow the same timetable for purchases and fireworks discharge as the county.

Councilor Bill Holdeman said he would like discharge of fireworks only to take place on the Fourth of July because ?it?s about celebrating freedom, not about making money.?

The council approved payment of $34,062 to Hett Construction for work completed on the Arlie?s Inc. building in the industrial park.

They approved the planning commission bylaws.

They approved a donation of $150 to sponsor a golf team for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Golf Tournament by a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Mary Olson voting against because she said it would set precedent for too many charitable organizations to ask for sponsorship.

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