Marion council reviews legislative conduct

Brushing up on municipal legislation regarding codes of conduct, responsibilities and other rules was one discussion item at the Sept. 28 Marion City Council meeting.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said he wanted councilors to be well-versed in how the process works.

?After an editorial and stories in the (Marion County) Record, I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss with the council how things should proceed,? Heitschmidt said.

?We are all adults here, and any time an issue comes up for discussion, councilors have an opportunity to speak their mind on a particular article, agenda item or whatever it is.?

When a motion and a second have been made regarding a specific issue, Heits?chmidt said, that is the time for discussion to ensue.

?It?s not after the vote has been taken,? he said. ?But, certainly councilors are free to express (to the media) their opinions about legislation that we have in front of us.?

Council members who want their opinion to sway votes should voice their views at the proper time, which is during the discussion time.

?In the past, before I was mayor, I know we had times where items were actually discussed before a motion was on the table,? he said.

Heitschmidt said he will make sure in the future that the council has a motion and a second before discussion begins.

?If there is no motion, no second, then there will be no discussions and items will not proceed,? he said.

Based on recent events, Heitschmidt said he wanted to make sure the council knows what the process is for proper legislative discussion.

Council members were encouraged to review the information in their meeting packets, and Heitschmidt said he would be available to answer any questions.

Residential discussion

Terry Jones, the city?s economic development director, said he wanted council feedback regarding an incen?tive grading scale for residential areas.

?In the industrial and business park we have these incentives in place by giving free lots or waiving utility fees,? he said.

Jones asked if this could be something implemented in residential areas, too.

?It could spur the growth of new homes in our area,? he said. ?We are always hearing about layoffs in Wichita or areas growing really fast, and obviously people will be needing homes.?

Another advantage of having residential incentives in Marion is that it would help the town look good and benefit local contractors, he said.

Once the council gives approval to research the issue further, City Administrator Roger Holter and Jones will research feasible optionss.

?We could consider utility hookups, reduced or free building permits (and other incentives),? Jones added.

McPherson is looking at about 6,000 new jobs, which Holter said is a huge opportunity for Marion.

Jones said he would begin putting information together for the next council meeting.

Attracting growth

Prompted by a talk with local developers looking to build one or two speculative homes, Holter said, the current revitalization program is a good benefit for long-term owners of the home because of a 10-year abated scale.

?For the developer who is going to be in a project for 180 days to maybe a year timeframe, total, the tax portion is really not that much of an incentive,? he said.

Generally, that would be something a developer would use when selling property to an owner as a marketing avenue, Holter said.

?What we are asking (of the council) is what incentives we could offer as a city to spur redevelopment on vacant land within our city?? he said.

?Or, are we willing, as a city, to acquire land for a subdivision and then work on the special assessments basis that wouldn?t kick in until the building was completed and/or construction loan rolled in.?

Another developer had approached the city to ask if Marion would consider industrial revenue bonds modified into the community incentive development program, which was authorized by the state five years ago, he said.

?We would create zones that developers could get low or no-cost interest with deferred payment on the land from the city?s perspective,? Holter said.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? heard from Mark Chesney, CEO and general manager of the Kansas Power Pool, about a meeting Nov. 13 for all member cities. Chesney reminded the council about the annual membership meeting Dec. 11.

? approved a proclamation for Pastor Appreciation Month in October.

? discussed storm-damage recovery process and directed Holter to bring forward new procedures.

? heard from Heit?schmidt about the first leaders of the Marion County Summit held the previous week. Part of the focus was on exchanging information and ideas to help all municipalities.

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