Council rejects appointment again

Staff writer

Marion City Council voted to deny Mayor Mary Olson’s appointment of Diana Holub to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a second time Monday. The 45-day period that was necessary to wait after the first vote ends Sunday.

The council then voted in favor of a resolution stating that Holub “is unqualified and/or not fit to hold the office of board member for the Marion Board of Zoning Appeals.” Both votes were 3-2 with Jerry Dieter, Chris Meierhoff, and Todd Heitschmidt on one side and Olson and Jerry Kline on the other.

“I don’t have a problem with her as a person, I don’t have a problem with her serving on this board,” Meierhoff said. “I have a problem with her serving on both.”

The three council members agreed that this was the reason they voted against Holub’s appointment. Holub was appointed to the Marion Planning Commission on Jan. 7. She served on the board of zoning appeals last year but her three-year term expired in January. The Board of Zoning Appeals rules on Planning Commission decisions.

“The BZA is the only board that acts as jury on Planning Commission,” City Administrator Doug Kjellin said.

City employee Margo Yates serves on both boards, however the three council members agreed that one person serving on both boards was acceptable.

It is not stated in either board’s bylaws that a person cannot serve on both boards. The council discussed amending the bylaws to exclude more than one person serving on both boards. Kansas State statutes say that a person can serve on a planning commission and board of zoning appeals.

Olson said she has other candidates interested in the Board of Zoning Appeals appointment but wanted Holub because Holub stated she would accept the position.

In other business:

  • The city will invoice a new scoreboard, foul poles and a windscreen for the large baseball field. The Marion baseball and softball boosters are providing the $6,000 to $7,000 to pay for the items, including poles and I-beams from Marion Manufacturing but want to purchase the items through the city to avoid paying sales tax. The boosters also want city crews to install the 16’ x 7’ score board, but Kjellin was not sure if the crews could handle such a job. The ball field is on city property. The first Marion High School game on the field is March 26.
  • The council approved the final year of a 10-year tax abatement for Marion Die and Fixture. The original personal property tax abatement was for two surface grinders for about $8,598.
  • The council approved the $400,000 Community Block Development Grant for city street improvements. The grant will not be awarded until June 1 but the city will begin advertising contracting bids this week.
  • Fire chief Mike Regnier reported that Don Druse and Danny Sherbert are retiring from the department. Regnier said the department has lost 80 years of experience in the past two months.
  • The council discussed financial and budgetary policies including several amendments to current policies. The council tabled any decisions for a later meeting.
  • Police chief Tyler Mermis told the council of plans to purchase two cameras officers would wear to record all traffic stops. TASER makes the cameras, which cost about $1,000 each. Mermis also discussed replacing traffic radar units.
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