Review the Marion Mayor candidates prior to voting

David Mayfield
David Mayfield
Next week, or sooner if you are an early voter, registered voters in Marion County will be deciding who our leaders will be for the next foreseeable future.

The City of Marion has a big decision to make as they replace Todd Heitschmidt with a new mayor. There are two possibilities.

One option is Republican David Mayfield. Mayfield has lived in Marion since 1999. His career has been in law enforcement and he was the Marion Police of Chief. He was then appointed Marion City Administrator which he did for a number of years.

During his time as City Administrator, Mayfield developed a financial policy and a comprehensive plan. It’s this experience and the need for change in economic development and the cost of utilities that made him decide to run for mayor.

“Employee morale seems to be at a low as well. Workers are not being given the equipment they need to do their jobs properly which decreases the efficiency of the people using the equipment,” he said.

Mayfield points out that the city has become reactive instead of proactive especially regarding streets, electric, water and equipment.

“The streets, for example, are not sealed and potholes filled unless it gets so bad that someone complains. If curbing had been repaired on Elm St. when damage first appeared, it would have cost a few thousand dollars to repair and prevented soiled washing into the creek which cost more than $250,000 to repair,” he said.

Mayfield is concerned about the utility rates and the fact that they are rising much faster than any other town.

“Part of this is to replace cash reserves that had been spent in the past,” Mayfield said. “The current administration has built the reserve to over $1.1 million, at the cost of our citizens, by way of raising the utility rates.

“A portion of these reserves should be returned to the taxpayers by way of either lowering rates or investing in infrastructure.”

The other candidate, John Wheeler, is also a Republican.

John Wheeler
John Wheeler

“I am running for mayor because I grew up in Marion and my family has been in the area for seven generations. We are very invested in wanting to see a future for Marion. It is a passion of mine to see Marion succeed and be prosperous,” said Wheeler. “I feel that my background in business can help Marion strive for those things. I believe that I listen well and use level headed common sense to approach problems and obstacles.”

Wheeler, who graduated from Marion High School in 1992, started his career in the building materials industry in 1996 after going to college at Idaho State University.

He and his family moved back to Marion in 2012, and in 2017, he started the Building Center with his brother Jason and his son Morgan.

Wheeler knows that the job will not be easy.

He said, “Every small town in Kansas has several issues or challenges they are facing in today’s world. Marion is no different. We need to address things such as people migrating out of small towns, economic development, and infrastructure needs such as water lines, high-speed broadband internet, electrical upgrades, and streets in need of repairs.”

Wheeler does have experience on the Marion city council which would be helpful in the role of mayor.

“In the past three years I’ve been on city council we’ve worked hard to keep our mill levy flat, and I will continue to do so in the future. Additionally, we need to always be looking for ways to lower our municipal utilities in order to provide economic relief to our citizens and businesses. If we can attract people and businesses to move to Marion, we can work on lowering everyone’s taxes and municipal expenses by spreading the burden of those costs.”