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Marion council maps out ‘needs’

Staff writer

Marion City Council members met Monday to map out things the council intends to address in coming months.

Mayor Mike Powers handed the meeting over to interim city administrator Mark McAnarney.

“I’ll kind of start with the budget,” McAnarney said.

McAnarney noted different accounts inside the utility fund, a water component and an electric component.

At Emporia, where he was city manager, the city looked at different portions of the budget each week during budget planning.

Powers said the city made a decision during COVID-19 lockdowns that nobody’s utilities would be shut off for nonpayment. As a result, some people are very far behind on their bills.

“The problem was, people built up so much debt,” Powers said.

He suggested people should be required to pay their current monthly amount and additional money to pay down their debt.

Council members discussed whether the city needed to continue running recycling pickups weekly or whether less frequent pickups would do.

Council member Tim Baxa said he wanted to discuss bringing broadband Internet to Marion.

“There’s no fiber in Marion,” Baxa said.

City clerk Janet Robinson said Vyve Broadband was working on that issue.

Powers said he and McAnarney had met with school superintendent Justin Wasmuth and discussed broadband and other things. Powers suggested reaching out to broadband companies and asking them to check out Marion.

Baxa said he’d like to discuss employee raises and performance and whether traffic ordinances needed to be changed.

Council members agreed the city should examine its water system and maintenance issues such as cleaning ditches.

Council member Zach Collett said he’d like to see the city go back to working on a strategic plan developed in 2023.

“Wichita State University helped develop the plan and said they would come back if needed,” Collett said.

Collett also said he wants to see a walking path already begun be finished by the September 2025 deadline for the project.

Powers said he wanted council members to look at whether city departments had all the equipment they needed, or needed all the equipment they have.

Council member Kevin Burkholder said the city could auction surplus equipment online.

Getting city building code updated is important, Burkholder said. City inspector James Masters told him insurance companies checked how long had passed since cities’ codes were updated when they set rates for homeowners’ insurance.

Council members set future work sessions for April 29, May 28, July 22, Sept. 23, and Nov. 25.

No mention was made of the city’s police department or finding a police chief. Zach Hudlin has been interim chief since Gideon Cody resigned Oct. 2. Hudlin has been targeted along with Cody in lawsuits filed over last August’s raid of the Record newsroom and the homes of its owners and the then-vice mayor.

Last modified March 27, 2024

 

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