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City council approves power deal

Staff writer

Marion City Council approved a 20-year contract with Kansas Power Pool on Monday after a presentation by KPP operations manager Larry Holloway.

Marion City Administrator Doug Kjellin said the agreement with KPP would save the city $18,000 a year compared to a short term contract.

“While 20 years sounds like a long time, this is a political decision,” City Attorney Keith Collett said.

Kjellin also said the wholesale cost of electricity will increase 5 cents per electrical unit. He said he still needs to analyze data to find out if that increase will affect utility bills.

Utility billing

The council approved a utility billing ordinance on its third appearance before the council.

One of the changes was that lessees need to provide a copy of the written lease to the City Clerk before utility services are to be provided.

“It’s to keep people from just moving in with someone else and not paying bills,” City Clerk Angela Lange said. “It’s something new we’re trying.”

If services are disconnected, the customer is liable for a $125 reconnect fee and must pay the delinquent bill in full. A waiver can be awarded if the customer lives at the same address as previous and has a pay history of 12 months payments made timely.

Two other city ordinances, 1264 and 1275, are revoked by the new ordinance because those ordinances made concessions for an appeal in front a utility billing review board, which no longer exists, and a public request with the city council.

As Kjellin put it in a previous meeting, the buck stops at his desk.

New police chief

Tyler Mermis gave his first report to council as Police Chief Monday. He has been working since Jan. 16.

“I’m very excited you appointed me to this position. I feel I was the best applicant for the job,” Mermis said. “I’m happy to be back home in Marion. I’m looking to be here a long time.”

Mermis spent the majority of the past 10 months on a Marine base in Djibouti, Africa.

In other business:

  • In the department report, council member Bill Holdeman asked about the city street sweeper, “Is the sweeper about to die?” he asked. Kjellin responded that a city employee has worked on the sweeper full-time over the past week. Dirt had lodged in the deep in the sweeper pan, which caused the hydrolics to malfunction and the sweeper to release hydrolic oil onto the street. Kjellin said the machine is close to working condition. A new sweeper would cost $250,000; a used sweeper would be $60,000.
  • After three 10-minute executive sessions to discuss non-elected personal, first with Lange, then with Mermis, council members discussed building a small bunker using highway barriers from the Kansas Department of Transportation for cold seal material. The bunker would function as a large plastic storage container, keeping the cold seal from drying out, Kjellin said. No action was taken by the council.
  • One of the meetings Kjellin attended last week dealt with city finance. He is planning to review rates and budget taxes soon. “This year, budget will be a more fun process.”
  • Lange informed the council that former Marion Municipal Judge Bryson Mills had died. The city is planning to send a memorial.

The next City Council meeting will be 4: 30 Feb. 6.

Last modified Jan. 26, 2012

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