Marion council declines mayor?s request for Lincolnville rep

Conflicting views about an appointment to the Marion County Economic Development Council and snow removal on Christmas morning were among the highlights of the Monday Marion City Council meeting.

Mayor Mary Olson told council members that while attending the Dec. 16 meeting of MCEDC, she proposed having Jo Olsen, who lives in Lincolnville, but works at the Marion County Courthouse, to serve on MCEDC as one of Marion?s representatives.

?I think the (MCEDC) needs a view of the whole county and not just any one city,? she said.

Olson said she asked Teresa Huffman, MCEDC executive director, if there were any bylaws prohibiting someone from serving if they didn?t live in a particular town.

?I was told there was not and it was only up to us if we wanted to accept (this appointee),? she said.

Olson said she thought MCEDC should have a view of the whole county, noting that Hillsboro, Peabody and the city of Marion already have their own type of economic development in place.

Olson said MCEDC is involved in a lot of tourism and trade shows, which is something Jo Olsen would like to attend.

?(Olsen) would be someone to get out and get our county recognized as somewhere to live and work,? Olson said.

Councilor Steve Smith asked if there wasn?t a place for her as the Lincolnville representative on MCEDC.

Olson said there is already one representative for Lincoln?ville, but if the MCEDC bylaws were to ever change, Olsen would be willing to move from representing the city of Marion back to Lincolnville.

?It doesn?t voice well for our community to go outside for a representative,? Smith said. ?I would just rather not (appoint her).?

Councilor Bill Holdeman suggested the city wait until the MCEDC bylaws change.

Councilor Gene Winkler said, ?It would be like asking someone living in Newton, but working here (to be Marion?s represent?ative on MCEDC).?

?I agree with Steve,? Winkler said. ?I just will not vote for somebody outside of Marion to be appointed as our representative.?

The issue was not whether Olsen was a good candidate; it was her place of residence.

Holdeman asked Doug Kjellin, the city?s economic development director, what his thoughts were.

?As a council, the mayor appoints on the (MCEDC) board,? Kjellin said. But the council would ratify any decisions.

As far as where they come from, Kjellin said he came from an outlying area of the city, but his interest was in Marion.

?Someone from another complete city, I can see some conflict,? he said.

Mayor Olson agreed.

?I went over that with Jo,? she said, ?and I would like her to say she was from Marion County when attending MCEDC meetings.?

Smith said he would be open to having a Marion County Lake resident serve on the MCEDC because they have a vested interest in the city.

Councilor Stacey Collett also agreed with his fellow councilors that appointing someone from outside the city wasn?t a good idea.

When Olson moved to appoint Olsen from Lincolnville to serve as the city of Marion?s representative, it failed for lack of a second.

?We need people who want to represent Marion County,? the mayor said.

Smith said he would talk to some people he knows about stepping forward to accept some of these open positions.

?I think you have the wrong idea (about MCEDC),? Olson said. ?Right now (Marion has) no representation on MCEDC.?

After lack of a second, Olson said she thought some of the councilors were ?missing the point with their attitudes.?

Snow removal

Councilors commended efforts by city crews to remove snow during the early morning of Dec. 25.

Harvey Sanders, public works director, said crews were out at 5:30 a.m. and, for the most part, vehicles were moved off streets during the removal process.

Olson said she heard one complaint of cars on South Freeborn, but other than that, it seemed to go smoothly.

Councilors wanted to make sure residents are aware that all vehicles must be moved off streets during snowy conditions.

If cars are not removed, they could be towed, Sanders said, or they could end up with snow plowed up against their vehicle.

?Then (residents) would have to shovel their way out,? he said.

For the most part, Sanders said, there are few problems, but when two vehicles are across from one another on a street, the city will call police to have them moved.

The sand truck was not working during the snow removal, which meant no sand was put on the streets, he said.

Another concern is the age of some equipment.

Sanders said the oldest truck in their fleet ended up being the only one that could push snow.

As for new equipment, Sanders said, the city looks at trucks and other items the state is getting rid of. Then the city bids for it on ?Purple Wave,? an auction site on the Web.

In other business, Kjellin said an open house is planned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, at the new youth center building, 1220 E. Main St. The public is welcome to stop by and help determine the ?whats and hows? for the new facility, he said.

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