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Residents sound off to council about fireworks

Staff writer

Many Marion residents voiced displeasure about violations of the city’s fireworks ordinance on Monday at the Marion City Council meeting.

Marion Police Chief Tyler Mermis reported that officers responded to 31 fireworks related complaints between June 30 and July 6. He said officers offered a warning to each violator, most often people shooting off fireworks after sanctioned hours, and that most responded by ceasing the activity. Officers did not write any tickets, Mermis said.

Most of the residents who responded in the public forum thought tickets should be automatically issued for violations. Under the current ordinance, the fine for a violation is $500.

“It was like I lived in Baghdad,” Margaret Wilson said.

The current curfew for fireworks is 2 to 10 p.m. July 1, 2, 3, and 5 and 2 p.m. to midnight on July 4.

If an automatic ticket is assessed, Marion City Administrator Doug Kjellin and Marion City Attorney Susan Robson both suggested reducing the fine to $50.

The council agreed to discuss the fireworks ordinance further at the July 23 meeting after Marion officers and a special committee could bring suggestions forward.

Alley

The council came to another split decision Monday about the alley south of Central National Bank.

With council member Chris Meierhoff absent, Todd Heitschmidt moved to table a vote until the July 23 meeting. Heitschmidt and Jerry Dieter voted for the motion and Jerry Kline and Mayor Mary Olson voted against it.

The motion failed and Olson brought up a second motion to evaluate all alleys in the city. Olson agreed the alley could be voted on after a list of alley priorities could be formulated — most likely with the Central National Bank alley having top priority, the alley behind the Elgin Hotel second, the alley behind Bearly Making it Antiques third, and the alley behind Marion Auto Supply fourth.

Kjellin evaluation

After a 15-minute executive session, the council voted to table its evaluation of city administrator Doug Kjellin pending input from other city employees.

The council instructed City Clerk Angela Lange, Electrical Superintendent Christian Pedersen, Treasurer Becky Makovec, and Streets Superintendent Marty Frederickson to fill out an evaluation. The items they were told to address were pertaining to open records requests, coordinating the activities of city departments, and fielding complaints from the public.

The reviews were to be given directly to Olson without Kjellin seeing them.

In other business:

  • The council approved zoning regulations with amendments from the planning and zoning committee.
  • The council approved a fee schedule resolution. Some fees include $1 administrative fee for copies, $.15 per square foot for commercial construction building permit fee, $1.10 per square foot for residential construction building permit fee, $200 for a alcohol and cereal malt beverage license, $25 porta-potty rental fee, and $5 truck parking permit fee.

Last modified July 12, 2012

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