• Last modified 977 days ago (Oct. 21, 2021)


Collett: A younger voice

Zach Collett, 33, who works at EBH Engineering in Marion, said he wants to give younger city residents a voice on the council.

He also wants them to not feel intimidated to talk to city council members.

Two items on his agenda are supporting small businesses and supporting housing. Homes that come up for sale are gone quickly, he said.

Marion has many quality homes that haven’t been updated in years, he said.

He wants to continue programs such as a housing development on N. Coble St.

The community needs more entrepreneurs like Johsie Reid, who opened JR Hatter’s on Main St., Collett said.

Collett said he knows there used to be a chamber of commerce in town, and thinks one might be beneficial.

Asked if he could see the city giving money to a chamber of commerce, he said he wasn’t sure.

He had no comment on a recent community disagreement over allowing a Family Dollar and Dollar Tree store to purchase reserved land in the industrial park.

He is, though, supportive of the city’s water system upgrade and electrical upgrade.

The water upgrade is “very needed,” and if it were not done the city would not have water, he said.

Asked if rate increases are the best way to pay for the upgrades, he said, “I’m not going to have a comment.”

“That’s a pretty fine line to walk, to increase those rates without affecting those who are on a fixed income,” he said.

A sales tax instituted to pay for infrastructure in the city industrial park is set to expire in coming months.

Collett would like to keep the tax going to pay for improvements to sidewalks, which he said are in such poor condition people out walking in the evening walk on the streets instead.

Such projects would likely involve hiring EBH Engineering, but Collett said that would not pose a conflict of interest.

“I do not vote on the issues,” he said. “I don’t talk to other council members.”

He’s also excited about an opportunity to develop a hike and bike trail at Marion. The city’s location between recreational areas is ideal, he said.

He said he wants to find a way to work with people who follow Father Emil Kapaun.

“We’ve got a great location,” Collett said.

He declined to say whether the city needs to increase or reduce spending on anything.

A Marion resident has raised objections to Marion’s downtown street renovation not including adequate accessible parking.

Collett said he has not checked to see if striping for accessible parking spaces complies with federal law and said he doesn’t know whether there are signs to identify accessible parking stall, as federal law requires.

Many in the community believe drug crime is on the increase.

“I think we need to be cracking down on that more,” Collett said.

Some of that is not in the city’s control, he added.

He suggests improving housing so housing prices aren’t what drug users can afford.

Collett said in 100 years he’d like to see lots of new housing, a bike path, and a lot of businesses.

He declined to “grade” city staff members and to comment on a recent attempt to sell land in the industrial park to a dollar store.

Last modified Oct. 21, 2021