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Marion hands out 5% raises . . . but hands back paved parking lot regs

Staff writer

After two split votes Monday by Marion city council members, city employees will receive a 5% raise.

Council member Ruth Herbel showed council members sheets with her calculations of employees’ annual wages after deductions, monthly pay including the value of a 20% utility savings given to employees, and annual salary amounts before deductions.

With current salaries, employees are paid $1,262,356, she said. With a 2½% raise, they would get $1,344,659. With a 5% raise, they would get $1,373,695.

Herbel said her own buying power as a senior citizen is $1,120 a month, much less than city employees would make, and that many Marion residents live in poverty.

She added that salary increases would cost the city more to operate.

“We have to be fair to our constituents, too,” Herbel said.

Holter clearly was angry.

“I’m trying to say this respectfully,” Holter said. “I’m paid to do salary administration along with the city clerk.”

Holter said Herbel was sharing information that he hadn’t seen and was incorrect.

Herbel moved to increase salaries by 2½%. The motion failed on a 2-3 vote with Herbel and councilman Jerry Kline in favor and mayor David Mayfield and councilmen Chris Costello, and Zach Collett opposed.

Mayfield then moved to give a 5% increase. That motion passed with Mayfield, Costello, and Collett in favor and Kline and Herbel opposed.

Council members decided to send a planning and zoning commission recommendation on parking lot requirements back to the commission, but they were vague about what they wanted instead.

In reviewing the commission’s recommendations, Collett said he had concerns about a section that listing possible exceptions for using compacted gravel instead of asphalt or concrete.

“If the property entrance is located on a paved street, the driveway must be paved per above specifications,” the clause states.

Collett said he thought having to pave a driveway was a lot of expense for a small business just starting out.

A petition presented to the city two weeks ago by neighbors of a potential Family Dollar store in the city industrial park was waived by city attorney Brian Bina during the meeting. The council earlier took the matter of zoning the industrial park into their own hands despite the planning and zoning commission scheduling hearings.

Bina’s surrogate, Zach Strella, had not read the petition before the council’s Feb. 22 meeting, during which council members voted to rezone the land. Strella said he considered the petition “an open letter.”

The petition reads: “We the undersigners are against the rezoning of the Industrial Park as proper procedure has not been followed and the petition signers would like to send this rezoning to the Planning and Zoning board as required in 12-757. The rights of Marion residents have been denied due process as the hearing was not advertised 20 days before the hearing and owners notified of same. Planning and zoning is not conducting this hearing, but city council plans to override due process and conduct its own hearing.”

Bina told council members the petition “did not request a remedy” and that the seven signers were not 20% of residents near the lots that were rezoned.

Last modified March 9, 2022

 

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