Returning BAK

June 8th, the City of Marion will be able to witness approximately 900 cyclists traveling by Marion on Highway 256 (Main Street).  Biking Across Kansas (BAK) is an eight day, 475 mile bicycle tour of the State of Kansas.  It is the second oldest organized cross-state bicycle tour in the United States.

Marion has been designated as one of the official “Lunch Stops” for this group.  It is estimated some of them may start to appear anywhere from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and they could be stopping to eat.  Their visit has the potential to make a positive financial impact on our community.  Hopefully, our restaurants and cafes will be prepared for the possible onslaught of hungry bikers!

A Press Release by BAK suggests having local youth groups or community organizations prepare some type of food for the bicyclists as a fundraiser.  Either way, it is important to present a welcoming atmosphere to these visitors.  Marion has many attractions that can be appealing to this market.  And it is those return visitors that can lead to increased retail revenue and possibly new residents.

Marion sits between two recreational lakes and is situated at the western edge of the Flint Hills.  It is easily accessed by US Highway 56, and offers rural town charm with historic stone buildings, active antique shopping opportunities and a Central/Brooker Park unrivaled in peacefulness and beauty.

I know this is early, since they are still over a month away, but let’s take this time until then to dust off our welcome mats.  Opportunity may be riding by June 8th!

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Quarterly Summary

It has now been three months since beginning as the City Administrator.  It’s as good a time as any to reflect on what I’ve learned.

  • There are a lot more regulations and restrictions on finance and lending in the public sector that in the private sector.  This is how it should be, seeing many city departments are financed through real estate taxes.
  • Things move slower when making decision by committee.  Not that I want more meetings, but when decisions have to wait two weeks for a Council meeting, it slows down the process.  And then Council decides to table the issue until the next meeting….
  • Policies and Procedures are very important.  Especially in local government, impartiality and consistency may be the only way to placate the diverse personalities and issues with city residents.  If the policy is fair and equitable, it makes deadlines, disconnects and decisions easier.
  • Budgets are a “best guess”, and sometimes assumptions in the spring of last year do not equate to the realities of mid-summer this year.  Two words; Fuel Prices.
  • There is a tendency to react to the negativity and brush off the compliments.  I think that’s almost backwards.  We need to address legitimate concerns, but not allow the messenger to force the solution or the pace of the correction.  The few words of encouragement should be appreciated and remembered.

There are other lessons learned; some not appropriate to print, but that may be another reflection for another time.

Trash Talk

You may have noticed that we are changing our residential trash pickup frequency.  Currently we are picking up residential trash on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  In an effort to conserve on fuel (and on our fuel budget), we are going to go to only one pickup per household per week.  Here’s how it will work.

If your current trash schedule is Monday-Thursday, we will now pick up on Thursday, only.  If your trash mysteriously vanishes every Tuesday-Friday, it will only vanish on Tuesdays.  My thanks to Geno for coming up with a better schedule than I was considering (I’m still kinda peeved that I didn’t think of it).

Anyway, please start following this schedule.  We will have a couple weeks where we’ll still pick up if you forgot, but will grant no amnesty after the week of May 2nd.  Look for a reminder in your utility bill.  And thanks for helping keep Marion clean and fiscally responsible!