Marion City Council voted Monday to hire Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd LLC to conduct the city’s audits for the next three years, despite a lower bid from Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball.
The price for Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd is $16,000 in 2012, $16,500 in 2013, and $17,000 in 2014. The price of Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball would have been $10,500 in 2012, $10,750 in 2013, and $11,000 in 2014.
Scot Loyd of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd argued that his firm has special expertise in government work worth the extra cost. In response to a question from the council, City Clerk Angela Lange said that when the firm worked with the city previously, they provided support outside the bounds of the contract with the city.
Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd was awarded the contract by a 4-1 vote, with council member Jerry Kline opposed.
Fumes bother police
The council instructed Police Chief Tyler Mermis to have one or more exhaust fans installed in the fire department building to disperse diesel and gasoline fumes that often permeate the police department.
Mermis said sometimes the fumes get so bad that officers have to open the windows and leave the office for a while. He said he has read about diesel and gasoline fumes being harmful to a person’s health.
The council instructed him to have fans installed. If the cost is above what he can approve without council action, he was told to bring the matter back to the council. City Administrator Doug Kjellin said to be certain any fans have explosion-proof motors, because they will be dispersing flammable fumes.
In other business:
- The council unanimously approved refinancing city bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates. Estimates from Stifel, Nicolaus and Company, Inc., of Wichita project refinancing will save the city about $446,518 over the long run.
- Marion National Bank presented the only proposal to provide banking services for the city. The proposal was accepted by a 4-0-1 vote, with council member Todd Heitschmidt abstaining.
- The council will have a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15 regarding issuing bonds to fund improvements to the levee protecting the city. The council approved an independent report that determined the levee is of benefit to the city as a whole, not just to specific interests.
- The council gave Mayor Mary Olson authority to sign an application for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant from Kansas Department of Commerce for street repairs. The total estimated cost of the proposed project is $1,122,665. The grant application is due Nov. 1, and grant awards are likely to be announced in January.
- A $4,000 invoice from EBH & Associates, P.A., for plans for a sewer project in Jex Addition was approved. Approval from Kansas Department of Health and Environment is needed before letting the plans out for bidding.
- The council approved giving five non-functional Stihl lawn trimmers to Marion High School for a small engine repair class. If any of the trimmers are successfully repaired, they will be returned to the city. Heitschmidt said he would like a policy that would allow department heads and the city administrator to dispose of such “junk” property without requiring council approval.
- Heitschmidt requested Kjellin direct city staff to establish a better paper trail of complaints and requests from residents. He said documenting requests and responses would make it easier for council members to defend city workers when approached about such matters. Kjellin said something is already in the works.
- Lange announced that city residents will soon be able to pay their city utility bills online, as well as view 12 months of utility usage history.
- The council met in closed session with Kjellin and City Attorney Susan Robson for 25 minutes to discuss trade secrets related to the building that formerly housed Arlie’s Paint, Body, and Glass.
- The council met in closed session with Kjellin and Robson for 10 minutes for preliminary discussions about the acquisition of real property.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15.