Plans turn into action during 2015

?Simply stated, talk is cheap about vision and the future ? 2015 was the time to put actionable plans to work.??Todd Heitschmidt,Marion mayor
?Simply stated, talk is cheap about vision and the future ? 2015 was the time to put actionable plans to work.??Todd Heitschmidt,Marion mayor
The theme in 2014 was focused on ?energy and synergy?with a renewed sense of the city?s vision, according to Marion Mayor Todd Heitschmidt.

?For the community (and newly elected public officials in 2014), it was about laying a tremendous foundation for (the city?s) future,? he said.

Building on that foundation, 2015 was about ?clarity for excellence,? Heitschmidt said.

It was about targeting efforts in customer service and being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers.

?Simply stated, talk is cheap about vision and the future?2015 was the time to put actionable plans to work,? he said.

Pulling together

All the ?good? achieved in the city, Heitschmidt said, happened because of the direct involvement by friends, families and neighbors.

?From the governmental and public works perspective, the year 2015 was to have been a maintenance year, without many changes or initiatives,? he said. ?But fortunately, the citizens of Marion let your elected officials know what was important and desirable for your community.?

Based on that, the overarching theme and efforts were anchored in the redefinition of recreational offerings in the city.

The result was the creation of a new municipal parks and recreation department and a community board to advise it.

Business growth

In the retail sales and services growth, Heit?schmidt said it was exciting to see Dollar General open its doors. Other retail enhancements include Ace Hardware and Subway.

?The sales-tax dollars generated increased by over 15 percent for the year and allows for continued financial support of economic development initiative and programs,? he said.

For the first time in many years, the city saw one-third of tax revenues funding governmental operations coming from sales tax in place of property taxes, Heitschmidt said.

?We see consumer-based taxation as the better way to fund the critical services of local government like police, fire and emergency medical services,? he said.

Recreational upgrades

After almost two years of fundraising, a new stage and restroom complex was completed in Central? Brooker Parkin 2015.

Another positive draw for Marion was the addition of Wi-Fi free public access through a partnership with Eagle Com?muni?cations and the city.

?The Wi-Fi access was developed for our friends, neighbors and visitors,? Heitschmidt said.

Marion?s East Park will be enhanced with the help fo a $221,940 grant with a city match of $24,660. Improvements include handicap-accessible parking and adjoining ramp to the main sidewalk, resurfacing the tennis and basketball courts, new playground equipment and racquetball dual court.
Marion?s East Park will be enhanced with the help fo a $221,940 grant with a city match of $24,660. Improvements include handicap-accessible parking and adjoining ramp to the main sidewalk, resurfacing the tennis and basketball courts, new playground equipment and racquetball dual court.

East Park was another area seeing revitalization through a grant from the state?s community development program.

?For Marion, this is an amazing opportunity to return some of the state income taxes back to our com?munity in tangible and lasting enhancements that will be part of the project,? he said.

The grant was $221,940, with the city?s contribution $24,660, or around 10 percent. Improvements include handicap-accessible parking and adjoining ramp to the main sidewalk, resurfacing the tennis and basketball courts, new playground equipment and racquetball dual court.

Housing

In the past few years, major strides in housing were seen in Marion for senior citizens. Adding to that, the Bown-Corby building, which had been a satellite campus for Butler Community College until 2014, was sold in 2015 to Tom George of Wichita by the city.

?The completion of the Bown-Corby apartment project is nearing with leasing starting this month,? Heit?schmidt said.

Law enforcement

Actions by the Ma?ri?on Po?lice Department were described as ?stellar? in 2015, Heitschmidt said.

?The most rewarding part of their efforts is exemplified in their commitments to community policing practices,? he said. ?Our officers have en?gaged in faith-based organizations, community or???ga?ni?zations and educational institutions, delivering solid results for our city and community.?

Heitschmidt offered the following examples.

? In 2015 Officer Duane McCarty introduced the Dragnet program to the Oasis School, Marion County Special Education Cooperative, in addition, to the efforts at Marion Ele?men??tary School.

?In prior years,our officers responded to requests for help from staff because of children?s disorderly conduct each and every week,? he said.

With the introduction of the Dragnet program, officers have had only one call the entire school year, Heit?schmidt said.

Dragnet is an acronym for ?decision-making, responsibility, assertive?ness, goal-setting, needs, ethics and trust.?

? Officer Mike Stone is committed to the ?Men?s Encounter the Cross.?

?This has led to a very balanced approach to community policing behaviors and attitudes resulting in levels of trust that are just short of unbelievable,? Heitschmidt said.

For example, Heitschmidt said a resident with a long history of non-compliance, which caused extreme caseload increases for the police, surrendered himself into Stone?s custody.

? The true meaning of ?serve and protect? rings true as officers protect citizens by seizures, Heit?schmidt said.

?This sends a very consistent message to those who choose to prey on our friends and neighbors that Marion is not the town you want to be in if you do not share our ethics and values,? he said.

? Officers patrolled more than 28,000 miles, creating a significant reduction in traffic-related offenses, alcohol-related crimes and property crimes.

?As in prior years, our police force has identified the areas of concern for our community and is taking actions to ensure impact in 2016,? Heitschmidt said. ?Very soon, (Tyler Mermis) the chief of police will announce plans to effectively support our children and victims of domestic dysfunction.?

Other accomplishments

Heit?schmidt identified several other accomplishments during 2015:

? Assistance by the electrical department in upgrading 12.5 loop. This eliminated the need of the north substation.

? Installed a new culvert on South Commercial Street after the old one collapsed.

? Entered into a main sewer line cleaning contract for insurance and Kansas Department of Health and Environment compliance.

? Lowered the lights on ?A? field at the baseball complex for safer maintenance.

? Almost 90 million gallons of water was treated and distributed. There were also no standard water regulation violations issued by KDHE. In addition, about 66 million gallons of wastewater was treated and re?leased.

? Some 34 building permit applications were issued, including combine permits, new construction, electrical, plumbing, accessory buildings and structure demolition.

? Curbside recycling started the first week of 2015 and, as the year came to a close, 204 tons of recyclable materials were delivered to the Marion County Transfer Station.

A salute to visionaries

Heitschmidt recognized Coun?ci?lor Bill Holde?man and businessmen Jerry Cady and Gary Carlson, for dedicating their lives in support of the city prior to their deaths in 2015.

?It is important we pay tribute to three of our vi?sion??ary community leaders who have been called home this past year,? he said. ?We honor and appreciate their community leadership and pledge to remain committed to their examples.?