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Mayor looking forward to new housing

Marion mayoral-elect Dave Mayfield answered questions about a new housing development and other issues when he met with seniors Jan. 8 at Marion Senior Center.

There are plans for new homes in the 300 block of N. Coble St., adjacent to Marion Cemetery, which he said would benefit the city.

While Marion would have to pay to extend water and sewer lines, and to furnish the lot, a McPherson developer would build and pay for the 11 new houses, Mayfield said.

Those buying the homes would receive a $25,000 grant for up to five lots to start, and would receive special assessments for water and sewer for the first few years.

“It’s going to be a good thing for the city,” he said. “In the long run it’s really not going to cost us anything to do that other than to donate the land, and the land is just sitting there.”

To start, though, the city will spend $110,000, which would be reimbursed over time.

The money would come from Marion’s cash reserves for utility fund, which has $1.4 million available.

The project will feature individual houses, not a development with a community center like Victory Ln.

The city needs to pressure Marion County into helping with road maintenance, said Max Ewert, who lives on Coble St. between Marion and Marion County Lake.

“I can understand the city not wanting to put anything into it if they’re not going to get anything back from the county,” he said.

Marion County is only responsible for connecting links, which are roads going in and out of town, Mayfield said.

City limits end where the southbound portion of Coble St. meets Freeborn St. in Marion’s southeastern quadrant.

South of that is in Centre Township, and the county’s responsibility, while north of that point is city responsibility, city administrator Roger Holter said.

The city also needs to foster the establishment of new small businesses, councilman Jerry Kline said.

“That’s the whole thing, is little businesses,” he said. “We need to keep going and shop to the west.”

Trying to attract a large business with many employees is difficult because the infrastructure isn’t available to support that many employees, Mayfield said.

“If you bring a business in here that’s going to employ 50 people, what are we going to do with them,” he said. “If we bring 50 people into town, how are we going to house them?”

Another priority for the mayor is improving city billing efficiency. The city ends up wasting money on envelopes when residents don’t pay bills by mail, Mayfield said.

“It irritates me that I get the city bill which I pay through the bank, but I still have an envelope in there,” he said. “Do you know how many envelopes I’ve gotten? I really can’t use them because they’re not conducive with what I want to go out.”

While Marion used to mail bills from the city office, it’s less expensive to use a bulk mailing service in Wichita.

Outsourcing the service decreased cost from between $1,400 and $1,500 to $990 because Marion saves on items like postage and envelopes, Holter said.

An audience member said the senior center needs more funding.

The center could benefit from increasing promotion as more than a place for the elderly, Mayfield said.

“I think where you’re missing the boat is that people don’t know it’s not only for seniors,” he said.

Last modified Jan. 15, 2020

 

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