Union Pacific to reopen railroad crossing

City Administrator David Mayfield announced at the March 24 Marion City Council meeting that the Union Pacific Railroad has agreed to open the railroad crossing in the Jex Addition that will again route semi-trucks renting parking space on land owned by Daryl Brewer away from housing.

The railroad closed the crossing, it said, because of higher train counts and speeds that increased the chances of accidents. The closing sparked protests from Jex residents who didn?t like resulting truck traffic on their street.

Mayfield said City Attorney Dan Baldwin wrote a letter to the railroad about the matter, and the railroad replied it would open the crossing on Friday or Monday. It still hadn?t done so by late Monday, and Mayfield said a phone call to the railroad elicited a response that it would be open Tuesday.

In response to a question from Councilor Gene Winkler, Police Chief Josh Whitwell said businesses with materials on railroad trail siding have been given a 30-day extension to get it off the trail.

Later in the meeting one of those businessmen, Tony Schafers, said surveys need to be done because he and another businessman are being asked to remove material from property they believe they own.

Casey Case of Case & Son, insurance carrier for the city, told council members that the insurance premium this year will be $85,181 for renewal, down more than $4,000 from last year, and down more than $14,000 since 2005.

Case credited the reduction, in part, to safety education and good record. He said a dividend check like the $14,039.27 he brought the city last May shouldn?t be expected again.

Economic Development Director Jami Williams suggested the city consider 240 television spots available from Channel 12 for about $5,000 when her successor is chosen.

The council members later approved a job description for economic development director written by the Marion County Economic Development Council.

Clerk Angela Lange said the city should receive $6,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for work done by the city during the Dec. 6-19 ice storms.

Winkler asked Baldwin about progress in an agreement with Frank Peckinowski on cleaning up his property. Baldwin said Peckinowski has made progress spraying for weeds and cutting trees, although he wasn?t sure about total compliance.

Winkler asked that the situation be checked on and put on track ?because I can?t see much progress.?

The council approved a $20,000 contract with the engineering firm of Bucher, Willis and Ratliff for planning the safe routes to school grant-financed sidewalks.

Bud Hannaford reported for the cemetery board that it has discontinued its treasurer?s office in favor of having income handled by the city clerk. He said the board continues on grounds upkeep and record keeping as its primary functions.

Hannaford reported 37 grave openings this year.

The council adopted a civil rights/fair housing policy after Mayor Mary Olson read a civil rights/fair housing proclamation celebrating the 1968 act in order to comply with Community Development Block Grant requirements.

The council approved a payment to Hett Construction for $10,864 for more work on the Arlie?s Inc. building in Batt Industrial Park. A report from the company said red structural iron for the building is up with panel metal now being installed.

The council approved a bid of $39,355 for spray features at the new swimming pool from Water Play because they would be even with the ground, although there was a bid from Terra Pad Inc. for $39,322 with fixtures projected above ground.

The council approved a performance by the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 16 with a share to go to the Central Park Improvement Committee. Lange said the projection of income for park improvement is from $1,500 to $2,000.

Randy Huelet of 315 Garfield St. asked the city to take further clean-up action against a neighbor with junk cars, trash thrown into a creek bed and a rat infestation.

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