Marion council ends support for MCCEDC

The city of Marion will no longer be financially supporting the Marion County Community Economic Development Corp.

The Marion City Council unanimously voted to end its financial contribution to MCCEDC during its weekly meeting Monday evening. Marion Mayor Todd Heitschmidt cited “double taxation” as the primary reason for pulling the financial support.

Marion County more than doubled its financial investment into MCCEDC this year, moving from $82,356 in 2017 to $165,000 this year. Heitschmidt said it would be overkill to burden city residents with an additional tax for the organization.

City Administrator Roger Holter said MCCEDC is “primarily a county organization” that isn’t reliant on financial contributions from cities.

The city budgeted $44,500 for its contribution in 2018, a substantial increase from its $7,500 contribution last year. The city will pay off the $22,250 it owes from the first half of the year.

This frees up $22,250 in the city’s general use fund for 2018. Holter said there are a number of ways the city could spend the additional money to promote economic development.

Holter pointed to the city’s Streetscape project as a viable option. As an addition to its long-term downtown revitalization project, the city plans to subsidize exterior renovations for downtown businesses.

“I think that could result in sustainable economic growth for our community,” Holter said of the Streetscape project.

The city’s termination of financial support for MCCEDC comes during a rebuilding phase for organization. MCCEDC has been the center of some recent controversy in the county commission during its search for a full-time director. The process is still ongoing.

Earlier this year, the organization released a revised strategic plan detailing its goal of transforming Marion County into “a unified progressive economic competitor” through attracting new businesses, promoting tourism, promoting entrepreneurship and retaining and expanding businesses.

In other business, the council:

◼ Adopted its 2018 traffic regulations code, pursuant to the state of Kansas, which includes changes to golf cart operation laws and DUI penalties for commercial drivers.

◼ Adopted its 2018 public offense regulations code, pursuant to the state, which includes changes to the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana as well as battery and assault against a law enforcement officer. The revised code also includes a section on criminal littering.

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