Marion City Council unanimously approved a preliminary resolution Monday to negotiate a new contract with Kansas Power Pool.
The point of contention among council members is KPP’s request for a 20-year electrical contract instead of the 10-year contract to which the city previously agreed.
Mayor Mary Olson said the reason the city went with KPP instead of Westar was the option for a shorter contract length.
Kjellin recommended rejoining KPP as sound economic strategy.
“Electricity seems like a commodity product; the only way to cut cost on a commodity is to reduce overhead,” Kjellin said. “A co-op is one of the best ways to sell a commodity product.”
The council will review a future contract when it is drafted by KPP, therefore the council maintains ability to remove themselves from KPP if the need arises.
Kansas Mutual Aid membership
The council also voted unanimously to renew Marion’s membership in Kansas Mutual Aid.
Kansas Mutual Aid is a conglomeration of municipalities that assist one another during disasters. Council member Bill Holdeman gave the example of Herington helping Marion during the ice storm in 2008.
Member cities can offer labor and equipment in aid efforts. There are 34 cities in Kansas Mutual Aid.
“With a wonderful opportunity comes the responsibility to help neighboring communities if they make a request,” Kjellin said. “It’s just invaluable.”
The council received an annual audit report Monday.
Adams, Brown, Beran, and Ball representative Bill Glazner took city officials through each step of the report.
The city committed three state violations on policy and procedures, but the mistakes were minor. There were payroll checks that were more than one year old, canceled checks more than two-years-old, which were not written off, and a treasurer’s payment that was paid on time but not on the optimal date.
“You may get a letter but I would expect that would be the extent of that,” Glazner said of possible disciplinary action from the state.
The city’s segregation of duties was also a point of contention.
“We’re not picky about that,” Glazner said. “You have to hire what you need to make the city operate.”
Glazner advised the city to do as much planning as possible for contracts and to evaluate employees on an annual basis.
City Administrator Doug Kjellin said Glazner’s most important recommendation was to establish a system for timely payment of bond obligations. With an established city clerk, Angela Lange, Kjellin said that need should be met.
Kjellin said most of the discrepancies in the audit report stemmed from the turnover in the city clerk position. Marion employed three city clerks in 2010.
The board approved new signees for a checking account at Central National Bank in Marion.
The account is specifically for grants. Qualified signers are Kjellin, Lange, city treasurer Rebecca Makovec, and Olson.
In other business:
- A contractor’s license was approved in the consent agenda. Ferrell Construction is bidding on jail construction with the county. Lange said none of the other bidders have applied for licenses.
- The city’s expenses of $340,460 were also approved in the consent agenda. Kjellin said the figure is higher than normal because of two payments to KPP.
- Marion PRIDE member Pam Bowers told the council that PRIDE has received 100 surveys back from its poll of Marion residents; the surveys were sent with city bills. Before determining data from the surveys, PRIDE is going to have USD 408 teachers evaluate surveys with their students; PRIDE wishes to gauge the requests of young people. Evans, Bierly, Hutchinson, and Associates engineer Darin Neufeld has agreed to help PRIDE apply for grants, Bowers said.
- Fire Chief Mike Regnier reported that the department has gone on 90 runs since Aug. 1. The townships have purchased a new truck. The department plans to sell the old truck, which has sustained 2,100 miles of wear.
- Police Chief Josh Whitwell will receive training for child sexual abuse cases next week in Wichita. He also said the department will walk children to school and have a Bucks for Buckles events soon. He did not give a definite date.
Marion City Council will meet again 4:30 Sept. 6.