Small Favors

It has been a good week for the town and our levee system.  We got notification that FEMA is amending their accreditation guidelines.  In summary, they will now “temporarily withhold issuing Final Determinations for those communities whose levees do not meet accreditation requirements”.  Seeing that our deadline is August 11, 2011, this is very good news.  The levee accreditation process will continue, but at a more reasonable pace.

If that wasn’t good enough, we also have some cooperation from the US Corp of Engineers concerning the inspection deadline this June.  Since we have taken a very aggressive approach to meeting this time line, it appears the inspection will be more around this fall.  That gives us a few more months to get all the trees cut and removed.  The work has to be done, but a little extra time will help immensely in doing the job right.

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Marketing Marion

If you are reading this, you must have followed the link on the Marion website homepage.  Thank you for checking.  I guess I’ll explain why this blog exists.

As everyone is reminded daily, it hasn’t been a real good economy for a while.  Efforts in traditional Economic Development (existing business expansion, new business creation and relocation to Marion) have been difficult, at best.  But that doesn’t mean the City of Marion should relax in recruiting opportunity for our community.  Here’s where this blog comes in.

We are quickly becoming accustomed with internet and electronic device usage.  E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and numerous other social sites all relay information quickly and reliably.  This technology allows for direct marketing to interested parties and it is basically free.  I say “free” only in that there is no need for printing glossy brochures and there are no advertising charges.

Without getting real technical (because I really don’t understand it, myself), with every “hit” of a site, a thread is established that assists search engines in finding sites.  The more threads established means a greater chance of getting searchers electronically into Marion.

It is my hope that through effective social media marketing we can invite people into Marion via electronic means.  Then we might actually physically see visitors, business prospects and opportunity.  Did I mention that all of this is “free”?

So feel free to “click around” sites pertaining to Marion.  There is quite a selection at the bottom of our website homepage (www.marionks.net).  You might be a vital part of our Marion Social Media Marketing Plan!

The Balance

I am now starting month three in the new position.  I’m already looking at 2012 budget issues.  It brings to mind a definition of economics, I learned while in college.  “Economics is the attempt to satisfy unlimited wants and needs with limited resources”.  This best sums up the budget process.  I’m starting from a broad perspective and will slowly work down to the details.

Now as for the title of this blog, The Balance comes into play in satisfying city needs such as streets, water, sewer, levee certification, etc., with the revenue streams created though taxation, utility revenue and various state and federal reimbursements and assistance.  So, while I’m up here at a bird’s eye level, I’m coming to some preliminary conclusions.

The viability of a small town is dependent on a level of service and overall “balance” of those services.  My research seems to point to our streets as the most visible manifestation of a well maintained community.  And the streets around town could definitely be improved.  An objective “grading system” shows that about one third of the streets received a “C” or “D” grade ( I prefer to NOT classify any street as an “F”).  So why not take the next three years to tackle a third of our “C” or “D” streets every year and improve them.

But how?  Chip and Seal?  Mill and Overlay?  You might say these are short term fixes and you want the street replaced.  OK, fine.  Asphalt or concrete?  Include replacing curb and gutter?  How much will this all cost?  And here is the rough part; the Street and Alley Department is not a revenue-generating department.  This means this department does not get revenue from utility sales, it gets the vast majority of it’s revenue from……you guessed it.  Mill Levy on Property Taxes.

There’s ways to fund it from other sources like additional transfers from Utility Departments, Revolving Loans and, possibly State funds (read the news and you’ll now why I stress “possibly“).  So do we take more from utility funding and ignore water line replacement?  How about our sewer lines?  Somewhere in this discussion, I hope you understand why this blog is called The Balance.

But no matter what my opinions are, the residents of the City of Marion have to be informed of the options and then communicate to the Council members and myself to help “load the scales” and find The Balance.  You tell us your thoughts,  and I will try to apply this information to the scale.  As the scale reaches a tipping point, I’ll be keeping you informed as how we need to find The Balance.

Ordinance Research

In researching a specific ordinance, I have come across Ordinance 1-102 from 1936 that allows the “keeping of milk cows sufficient for the use of any family not exceeding three cows” and “the keeping of pigs or hogs by any one family not exceeding six in number”. I bet that one has been repealed. But it still illustrates how dependent we were on providing our own food and how “close” we were to the necessities of human existence.

Next time you reach for your vacuum sealed pork cutlet, remember that not too long ago, before dinner, there might be a pig that needs butchering.

Intro

This is the inaugural edition of the Marion, Kansas, City Administrators blog.  Blog.  What an unfortunate word.  Anyway, I intend to use this site to inform others of the goings-on of a small rural town in Kansas.  It is my hope you will find this helpful and, at times, enlightening.  I expect to give notices pertinent to the Citizens of our fine town and also diverge into tangents whenever the feeling hits.

This is not just for Marionites, but also could be a window into a country town and the Midwest mindset.  There will be more, but it’s five o’clock and, well, I am a government worker!

Hello world!

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