Marion council OKs $5.4 million senior housing expansion

The Marion City Council approved a recommendation made by its planning commission April 30 that will mean $5.4 million in improvements and new construction for elderly housing.

Planning Commission Chairman Chad Gormley said four exceptions were also unanimously recommended prior to bringing the Homestead Victory Plaza Addition preliminary and final plat to the council.

Mayor Mary Olson thanked the commission for its diligence in reviewing all the issues necessary prior to making their recommendations.

The council’s vote to approve the addition was 4-1, with Councilor Jerry Kline absent.

Tree dump changes

The council, by concensus also instructed City Administrator Doug Kjellin to move forward on a plan for the city’s tree dump operations.

“I have spoken to the staff and I think we have a way to maintain existing services for our residents, eliminate fees for dumping trees and save about $5,000 on attendant labor,” he said.

The plan would be for city crews to unlock the tree dump every weekday morning and the police would lock it back up in the evening.

“Our current attendants would be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, like they currently are doing, and possibly 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays,” Kjellin said.

The reason for weekend hours, he said, is to allow residents another opportunity to dump trees. It would also assure proper tree materials are being dumped and monitored during the times of most use.

“Sunday hours are negotiable,” he said, because he hasn’t spoken to tree dump employees yet.

Kjellin also recommended not charging for tree dumping services.

“This would eliminate the need for individually-issued keys,” he said. “Also, the tree dump would be open during regular city business hours and our crews could monitor the site during the week.”

In other business, the council:

• approved five ordinances to include a national electric code standard and international plumbing, building and residental code standards.

• approved establishing a fee schedule for services provided by the city ranging from administrative costs and airport charges to animal control, mowing assessments and building permit fees.

• agreed to approve the 2010 audit report, which was presented to the council last year, but not actually accepted. This approval was encouraged by Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball, the city’s audit firm, Kjellin said.

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