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Council faces opposition to water line grant

Staff writer

City council members faced opposition Monday during a 25-minute public hearing on the possibility of applying for a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant to help defray the cost of installing new water lines in 37 city blocks.

Marion resident Darvin Markley asked if the grant is the same one the city applied for and got turned down.

City administrator Roger Holter said yes.

“Why did it get turned down before?” Markley said.

Grant consultant Rose Mary Saunders said the city was denied the earlier grant because too many other cities applied.

Markley asked if the grant would be used to pay interest on a loan the city hopes to be approved for. That loan would be $3.9 million from the state department of health and environment’s public water supply fund. The city is on that program’s priority list.

Consulting engineer Darin Neufeld said if the city wins the public water supply grant, the money will reduce the amount the city will need to borrow to fund the project.

Markley also objected to the cost of the project. He said $12,985 a household for a project that will benefit 303 households is too much money.

Although her comments were not made during the grant hearing but during regular public comment time, city council candidate Ruth Herbel reminded council members that she brought a violation of zoning regulations to their attention and asked if the city had taken any action on the matter.

In late July, Herbel spoke to council members about a gravel parking lot at the corner of Melvin and Roosevelt Sts. owned by St. Luke Hospital. Zoning regulations require parking lots to be paved and not obstruct the vision of drivers on the street.

Holter said the city is working with the hospital to resolve the situation.

Markley also asked why the city is doing new mapping of the electrical system when mapping was done in 2013.

Electric supervisor Clayton Garnica said the old map is a PDF, not interactive.

An Aug. 30 power outage that lasted nearly a day spurred complaints about the city’s power service.

“In 2012 we spent $24,000 to update the power station,” Markley said before asking why the city is spending money on its power system again and again.

He wasn’t the only person unhappy with electricity service. Ron Herbel said he’s often been without electricity while his neighbors have power, and he thinks he should write his own power bill so he’s not paying for electricity he’s not getting.

Last modified Sept. 11, 2019

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