Schwab resigns commission post after CA ‘threat’

Roger Schwab came to the specially called Marion City Council meeting Monday apparently thinking the meeting was called in part about his resignation as chairman and member of the Marion City Planning Commission as of 12:01 a.m. Monday.

And he was at least partly right.

Schwab said he suspected it was so because he received a letter from City Administrator David Mayfield ?threatening? him with removal from the commission if he didn?t comply with certain requirements.

Among those requirements, Schwab said, was a demand that he have no direct contact on commission business with Building Inspector Marty Fredrickson without first getting approval from Mayfield.

Schwab said, ?I didn?t realize the situation. I thought I was working for the Marion City Council, but apparently I was working for the Marion city administrator.

?And I am a volunteer, not an employee. I?ve always tried on the commission to do things according to the laws and statutes. That must not be what is wanted here.?

The city council, at the beginning of the meeting, by motion of Councilor Stacey Collett and by second of Councilor Steve Smith, passed 4-1 a resolution that said the council can remove any member of the commission at any time for any reason.

The resolution said the council can go into executive session to demand a letter of resignation from a planning commissioner with no reason given in open session.

Mayor Mary Olson and Councilor Gene Winkler joined in approving the resolution while Councilor Bill Holdeman cast the lone dissenting vote.

Holdeman said he ?hated to see anyone resign from the commission,? and especially so because they are community volunteers trying to do something for the city.

Olson?s nomination of Margo Yates to serve on the planning commission was passed 5-0. Yates succeeds Angela Langely, who resigned in September.

Olson said this leaves one vacancy to be filled.

Schwab predicted that more on the matter would come out at a planning commission meeting Tuesday.

The city also voted 5-0 to continue until 2012 with a Main Street revitalization program after a five-year review from its beginning in 2002 by Economic Director Doug Kjellin.

Kjellin said his review showed that those who made a $25,000 investment on Marion?s Main Street under a counter county plan would end up paying an average $6 monthly on property taxes after abatement while under the city plan they would pay nothing.

However, Kjellin said, under either plan the city and the council gained far more in sales tax than they would have had without the program.

Kjellin said that three businesses expanded or were created under the program during the first five years of it in Marion. They include T.J.?s What-Not-Shop, The Elgin and Sher Bowls Lanes. The full sales tax potential of the latter two is still coming, he said.

Kjellin said the revitalization plan, which gives tax abatement for development, ?is an excellent tool.?

In Marion, the Main Street revitalization area is a block either side of Main Street from Vine Street to Eisenhower Street.

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