Marion OKs repair project for flood-control levees

The Marion City Council unanimously approved $90,000 worth of expenditures for two projects dealing with repair of the flood control levee north and west of U.S. Highway 56 and levee certification engineering at their meeting Jan. 24.

Hett Construction of Marion received the contract to repair the flood control levee for about $40,000 and Wilson and Co. of Salina will handle the certification at $50,000.

?The two items are linked in that two different agencies (Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency) are requiring work and engineering in 2011 to maintain our levee,? said City Admini?strator Doug Kjellin.

The levee repair is mandatory, he said. When the work is completed, the concrete inlet north and west of U.S. Highway 56 and the railroad overpass will be repaired.

?Also included in the (Hett Construction) bid is the restructuring of four additional drain?age structures along the west side of the levee as required by the Corps of Engineers,? Kjellin said.

Kjellin talked about trees that must be removed from the levee canal.

?The city crews began removing trees on the north side of the levee, but many trees must still be removed south of U.S. Highway 256 (Main) to Third Street,? he said.

After talking with Marty Fredrickson, city streets director, Kjellin said that with the current city crew levels, it would be doubtful they alone could get all the canal cleared before the June deadline.

Kjellin said he plans to discuss the tree situation with Rocky Hett to see if Cottonwood Valley Drainage Board could assist.

Local contractors may also need to be contacted to negotiate tree clearing in selected areas, he said.

The levee certification is a requirement of FEMA and it must meet federal guidelines to accredit the levee for flood plain maps.

?This certification is compulsory to preventing the homes in the valley from falling back into pre-levee flood plains,? Kjellin said.

Failure to meet FEMA?s requirements, he said, would result in decertification of the levee. One major result of that action would be that homes in the valley of Marion, which are financed through a government funding agency would be required to have flood insurance.

Councilor Steve Smith said he was concerned about accepting a proposal of this size for repair work without a competitive bid process, but he also understood the time constraints.

Kjellin said Hett Construc?tion is a local contractor using local labor and resources with the money staying in Marion and it is also the only contractor capable of completing this scope of work.

Economic development job

Kjellin provided council members with a proposed job description and requirements for the revamped economic development position, which was vacated when he suceeded David Mayfield as city administrator.

After discussion, council members asked Kjellin to talk with the city clerk and treasurer about whether the position could be absorbed by someone already in the city office.

Prior to the council?s ideas, Kjellin spoke about the job and what he envisioned.

?I have taken out some of the more hard-core economic development responsibilities (comprehensive economic development program and preparation of studies for the council),? he said.

In addition, he added tourism as part of the job with the position requiring the person be lead contact for the operations and booking of the renovated community center.

?This position would handle the day-to-day communications between the entities interested in Marion on either a tourism or business basis,? he said.

On the tourism side, the position would require the person to work with local and regional government for hosting retreats, seminars and training events, assisting in hosting events, maintaining an active presence in local, regional and national publications by advertising feature and benefits of the Marion community.

Another facet of the job could be working with Margo Yates, executive director of the Marion Chamber of Commerce.

Council members recommended Kjellin bring back any suggestions to the next council meeting

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