New faces at council

Mermis appointed to vacancy

Staff writer

It was standing room only at the Marion City Council meeting Monday as residents gathered to say good-bye to Mayor Mary Olson and thank her for her years of service and welcome Todd Heitschmidt to the post.

Olson shed a few tears as she addressed the council, employees, and residents present.

“To the employees, thanks for living in a fish bowl in serving the community; I especially want to thank the office staff, Marty Fredrickson, Christian Pedersen, and the police department for their respectful attitude I received, even when I was bringing a citizen concern to them,” Olson said.

She advised the new mayor that his responsibilities would seem to change constantly.

“But just remember you have four other members to lean on and whose vote is exactly the same as yours, whether you all agree or not,” she said.

After elected council members Chad Adkins and Jerry Kline were sworn in along with Heitschmidt, his first order of business was to proclaim April 18 as Mary Olson Day.

A reception for Olson with cookies and punch was held for residents and staff, but council did not break to attend, instead continuing on with business and appointing Woodrow “Woody” Crawshaw as city clerk.

Crawshaw’s first order of business was to help swear in Heitschmidt’s council replacement, Melissa Mermis.

Mermis received the third most votes in the election and will fill Heitschmidt’s post for the remainder two years of the term.

Adkins was voted as vice mayor because of his classroom leadership experience.

Terry Jones was introduced to council as the new economic development director. He will begin next week.

City administrator Roger Holter said he is excited for the future.

“There was a great sense of optimism,” he said.

A work session was set for 5 p.m. April 23 to outline roles and expectations for new council members, and to answer any questions they might have.

After the meeting, council members had cookies and punch with Olson.

Project updates

New council members were brought up to speed on major projects happening around the community.

The council approved a change order for $17,100 to add a parking lot on the corner of Fourth St. for the new library addition.

The lot will add 12 spaces and have a sidewalk that will lead to the new addition. It will also allow another access point into the current lot. Funding for the lot comes from the county’s portion of the repairs for Fourth and Williams St. due to the jail construction and demolition.

“The county decided their responsibility was $32,000 for the project, but we had already bonded that amount so there was extra in the project to construct the lot,” Holter said.

All the city’s sewer and water lines have been completed for Victory Plaza. The council approved a payment to Homestead Affordable Housing for the work, which they contracted out for $39,877.

The lines run from Denver St. to the back of the property. A loop from the existing duplex was created to combat potential stale water caused by a dead end line. The loop should also fix any stagnate water problems for residents on Denver St.

The rest of the lines, including individual duplex hookups, fire hydrants, and man hole covers, will be paid for by Homestead.

The other street project is on its 25th out of 200th contract day. Crews from Vogts-Parga have finished several intersections around town as well as smaller street sections.

Holter said their goal is to finish all smaller projects before moving on to larger street sections.

Next crews plan to move to complete the intersection of Lincoln and Birch Sts., and fix parking and curb in front of the city building.

The council 4-1 approved the final lease agreement for a new bucket truck from Altec with Jerry Kline voting against.

 

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