Marion City Council voted on a few housekeeping items on the eve before city elections.
During public forum, resident and former council member Bill Holdeman spoke about concerns he had about the city’s budget.
He said the $150,000 of debt service the city will need to find somewhere in the budget concerns him. He inquired why the city had not budgeted for the shortfall, when it is a fixed debt payment.
City administrator Roger Holter explained that the shortfall was caused by bonds for the street project that weren’t added into the budget at the time because it was due in August, and the bonds weren’t sold until November.
Holdeman also criticized a recent increase in electric rates.
“If you continue to raise the kilowatt hours you will drive people out of town,” Holdeman said.
Holter said he understood Holdeman’s concerns but explained that compared to higher rates by Weststar and other state electric providers, Marion was still significantly lower.
Several updates were also given to council about the status of multiple construction projects around town.
Holter reported that Vogts-Parga had begun tearing up intersections to begin the first phase of the large street project planned for this spring and summer. He also reported that Hett Construction would begin laying concrete on the first portion of Fourth St. today.
Hett Construction plans to close both streets when they are completed to tar seal the cuts in the street so they don’t crack.
During the course of the street work, city crews have been checking utility lines that cross the streets and replacing any bad ones. Holter said this will decrease the chances of city crews having to rip up portions of the streets to repair broken lines in the future.
“They’re doing all those things at once so that way it is less inconvenience for our customers,” Holter said. “There were a few problems on Williams that were fixed and there are some valves and other things that crews are working with Vogts-Parga to coordinate schedules with.”
Holter said that currently city crews are working with four different construction companies to coordinate projects.
Patching, from work done on Eisenhower and Main St., will be completed this week by city crews, weather permitting, Holter said.
Striping on Main St. will be completed next week weather permitting. Mayor Mary Olson said she had noticed residents making their own parking spots, and was ready for the lines to designate where actual parking was.
“We’ve noticed it, too” police chief Tyler Mermis said. “We’ve told them those spots are no-parking areas.”
In other business:
- The council approved a payment to Hett Construction for work on Williams St. in the amount of $34,039.
- The council approved to renew the city’s insurance policy with EMC and Case and Son Insurance.
- The council approved the final lease agreement with Altec Capital for a new bucket truck for the electric department, and to trade in the old truck for $10,000. Jerry Kline opposed the agreement saying, “I voted against it before, why would I change my mind now?”
- The council designated Marty Fredrickson as voting delegate to the annual meeting of the Kansas Municipal Utilities on May 9. Holter was voted as the alternate.
- The council nominated Randy Kelsey to serve another term as director No. 2 on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency.