Marion takes 1st look at priorities
Crumbling streets, more housing, increased demand for restaurants and hotel rooms because of tourists visiting Pilsen, fire equipment, and repairs to the city building were discussed Monday by Marion city council.
It was the council’s first session to discuss budget priorities for fiscal year 2022. No decisions were made. Instead, department heads came with wish lists.
City clerk Tiffany Jeffrey said she wanted to upgrade the city’s web site. A web site designer told her that most of the hard already was done.
Economic development director Randy Collett said he was concerned about lack of adequate housing. He suggested recruiting people to deed derelict property to the city so old homes could be demolished and new houses built on the land.
Councilman Jerry Kline pointed to housing being built on Coble St.
“They’re building houses up there, but they’re tearing up the streets while they do it,” he said.
Kline said S. 3rd St. had room for houses to be built but Collett said that building houses on 3rd. St. would create zoning problems.
“I will tell you, houses hit the market, and they’re gone in about two or three days,” Collett said.
City administrator Roger Holter said the city might not get as much grant money as was earlier thought to work on the city’s water towers
If townships become eligible for funding, money available for cities will decrease, he said.
In February, New Jersey-based Suez Advanced Solutions proposed making repairs to the city’s old small water tower.
Parks and recreation director Margo Yates said she wasn’t sure what her future role in the city might be now that many of her responsibilities are being transferred to the school district, but she wanted to point out that the city building needed work.
An air condition is barely working, water has leaked in an elevator shaft, stairs need attention, the kitchen could use work, and she’d like to see the carpet in the basement professionally cleaned.
Fire chief Chris Killough fire chief is looking to replace a vehicle.
“This vehicle I’m looking at is more expensive than my budget,” he said.
He also wants to replace old air packs. Some have been replaced, but the department still has several very old ones.
Mayor David Mayfield said he wanted to talk more about putting a splash pad in Central Park.
He did not indicate whether it would replace any other park features.
Mayfield said after the meeting that he hoped infrastructure needs would be the council’s priority for next year’s budget.