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City decides on fowl language

Council determines allowable duck limits

News editor

Ducks are welcome in Marion after city council passed a much debated and researched fowl ordinance revision at Monday’s meeting.

In July, Jason and Tiffany Ivy requested a waiver to the original ordinance, which allowed only chickens to be kept in town. The Ivys have had ducks to provide eggs for Tiffany’s diet. She is allergic to chicken eggs.

Unlike previous meetings, there was little discussion, save for determining the ratio of ducks to chickens to be used to determine the number of birds one person could keep.

City staff came prepared.

“We have them (ordinances) drafted for three, four, and five ducks,” city administrator Roger Holter said.

Council member John Wheeler recommended going with a version in which one duck would count as three chickens toward the maximum number of 20 fowl allowed.

Council unanimously passed the ordinance.

Addressing Jason Ivy, who was in the audience, Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said, “It’s official now, you can have your ducks and they won’t be arrested.”

Ivy was quick to respond with a lighthearted jab referencing an earlier meeting.

“Now we can talk about an ostrich,” he said.

Clayton Garnica briefed the council on electric system upgrades being implemented south of St. Luke Hospital.

The work is a segment of an ongoing project to triple the voltage capacity of city power lines from 2,400 to 7,200 volts. Garnica estimated about a third of the town has already been converted, with a tentative completion date of December 2018.

“There will be less line loss, fewer brownouts, and hopefully it will cut down on power outages, too,” Garnica said.

Houses on the east side of S. Roosevelt St. and west side of Freeborn St. in the 600 through 800 blocks will be affected by the work, Garnica said. A letter was sent to homeowners explaining the work to be done, and they will be notified when work will require power to be shut off.

In other business:

  • Police Chief Tyler Mermis proposed raising pay rates for part-time officers from $10 to $15 per hour to be more competitive with other area departments. Heitschmidt, Holter, Mermis, and assistant chief Clinton Jeffrey will develop a formal budget proposal for an upcoming meeting.
  • Rate increases were approved for renting the newly renovated conference center in the basement of the community center. The main conference center room, commons area, and kitchen can be rented together for $170, or separately. Other fees are charged for use of a projector, table cloths, chair covers, set up, and clean up.
  • Information on legal options for annexation of land into the city were presented by Holter. No specific annexation proposals were discussed.
  • Council authorized an application to Kansas Housing Resources Corporation for $200,000 to be used for development of moderate-income housing. KHRC has $2 million allocated for projects statewide.

Last modified Sept. 14, 2017

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