• Last modified 1140 days ago (Feb. 4, 2016)


'Dirty' politics mire council candidates in conflict

Staff writer

Two contenders for Marion City Council are butting heads over a proposed dumping site for dirt.

Michel Soyez came to Monday’s city council meeting to address the issue of the city using property adjoining his own as a location to dump dirt.

The property at the heart of the issue belongs to John Wheeler, also running for the council.

Soyez’s single issue in the race for city council is the manner in which the council came to the decision to dump dirt on Wheeler’s property, he said on Tuesday.

“This one issue is the whole reason I’m running,” Soyez said.

Soyez contended Monday that if the city puts dirt on Wheeler’s property, as decided two weeks ago, problems with water drainage will result, and Soyez’s home at 327 S. First and his family’s safety will be at stake.

Wheeler contacted Soyez after Monday’s meeting and asked to meet with him.

“I told him I’d been happy to do that but he needed to come meet with all of us,” Soyez said.

Soyez said other neighborhood residents deserve information on how they will be affected as well.

Soyez asked city council members whether engineering had been done to find out where water would go after adding the dirt.

“None of them had done anything,” Soyez said.

City Administrator Roger Holter said Wheeler purchased the land in 2007 with an eye to its future development as a retail and wholesale center.

The location in question is inside the levy, Holter said.

The agreement between the city and the developer states the city must do proper contouring and distribution of dirt taken there.

Holter said Wheeler also has agreements with local contractors for them to use the site for dirt.

Holter said the city’s calculation of how much water could build up at the site differs from Soyez’s calculation. Soyez calculates about double the amount the city calculates.

Nevertheless, until more discussion is held, the city won’t be adding dirt to the site, Holter said.

Wheeler could not be reached for comment before deadline.

Last modified Feb. 4, 2016