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Council renews utility discussion

Staff writer

The city’s utility billing policy was the topic of discussion in public forum Monday at the Marion City Council Meeting.

Former Economic Development Director Jami Williams, back in town, asked the council if they were making a change.

“We are trying to review these on a case by case basis,” council member Steve Smith said. “I do believe we can set a bad precedent.

“We’re probably not the best people to be making this decision,” Mayor Mary Olson added.

“In that particular decision, I feel we made the right decision,” Smith continued. “(Ernest Barrell) did come pay his bill in full.”

The council then met with City Administrator Doug Kjellin in a 10-minute executive session to discuss nonelected personnel. When the council returned to session, Olson apologized to City Clerk Angela Lange based on employee complaints outlined in a letter authored by Kjellin about billing decisions from the Dec. 12 meeting.

“I hope you understand that we had to take a stand with the way we felt at the time,” Olson said.

The council and Kjellin agreed to put an agenda item regarding the bill paying policy for the Dec. 28 meeting.

Judges

The council took two separate executive sessions to interview municipal judge candidates.

They used 10 minutes to interview Brad Jantz of Newton and 15 minutes to interview John Klenda of Newton.

The council then agreed to interview Randy Pankratz at 5 p.m. Thursday in a special council meeting.

In other business:

  • The council approved phone service at the nearly completed Baxter Lounge at the Marion Airport. Airport Board president Dick McLinden said the service would be provided through Eagle Communications and cost $34 a month. With a pole attachment agreement already established with Eagle, Kjellin said Internet service could be added to the lounge free of further cost.
  • Kjellin said he would send a letter of recommendation to the Kansas Department of Transportation supporting a roundabout proposal at the intersection U.S. 56 and U.S. 77. The council gave him the authority to write a letter.
  • The council approved Mary Griffith to join the Marion City Library Board of trustees to replace Janet Blue.
  • Revisions to the Marion Police Department employee manual were approved. The racial profiling policy was officially changed to the “policy prohibiting racial profiling and commitment to unbiased law enforcement.” The domestic violence policy was also changed: definitions were reworded, the state described dispatch procedure was added, the procedure for the differences between misdemeanor and major classes was clarified, and a provision that officers must file a report whether an arrest is made was added.
  • Streets Superintendent Marty Frederickson reported that city crews assisted with house demolition at 311 E. Santa Fe St. Dec. 5 and 6.

The next City Council meeting will be 4:30 Dec. 28.

Last modified Dec. 15, 2011

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