MARCUS - The Marcus City Council had several visitors at its regular meeting on Sept. 8th. Jeff Fredrickson, chief deputy of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department, told the council about the change of the county computer system whicht includes the City of Cherokee Police Department and Aurelia's Police Department. They also would like to see the Marcus Police Department make the change as well.
The new software system has been embraced by 33 of Iowa's counties. The company has offices across the country, with Iowa's office headquartered in Waterloo. The Cherokee Sheriff's Department and Cherokee Police Department have borne the great majority of the expense. Fredrickson explained that man hours and fuel would be reduced with the system hooked into every law enforcement vehicle and department. Every piece of information will be accessible on this computer system, saving expenses and trips into Cherokee.
Each year, there will be an expense of around $580 to have the computer updated. The Marcus Council agreed to pay its share of $5,800 over a five year period, with no interest charged. All of the council was in favor of the idea.
Steve Smith reviewed the city's liability insurance, and commented on how well this plan of over 350 cities involved has paid off. He noted how Marcus receives a reduction in insurance costs through having experienced employees. Premiums have stayed relatively low while coverage has definitely increased. The town has a liability limit of $2 million which Smith checked on to learn most towns of similar size have the same amount of coverage.
Sandy Poppens reappeared before the council with an update on the plan to start a "Community Ministry" which is supported by all of the local churches. The steering committee includes Poppens, Elixabeth Pfeifle, June Palleson, Gary McDonough, Rachel Holmes and Mary Roethler.
The group is asking the council for permission to use the community center as the physical location for the group. They will provide food, clothing and perhaps some monetary support. Staffing will be done through volunteers.
Clients will need proof of residency. Valley Bank of Marcus will accept donations for their account. When up and running, food and clothing donations will be accepted. Some food items will be purchased at minimal prices from local businesses and from the Siouxland Food Bank, which also provides supplies and personal need products. Meat, milk and bread products will be limited.
The group wants to have Bibles on hand, as well as materials for children to learn about Jesus.
The council is concerned about separation of church and state, as well as insurance for the operation. City Attorney Chuck Knudson will further check out the town's responsibility to see if it is wise to allow the group to use the Community Building. There can be no discrimination between Christians and non-Christians.
Marcus policeman Randy Weflen appeared before the council to ask for permission to attend schooling to be an officer for DARE. Gene Suhr of Aurelia has taken care of MMC students for the last seven years, and is now being asked to do other communities. The training is free to Iowa officers, but the council felt the budget wouldn't allow them to hire replacement officers for the two weeks he'd be gone. They deferred making a decision until next week as to give Weflen some time to find if there is any grant money or other sources of financial help.
The council approved payment of $55, 730 to VanVorst of Orange City for paving on Highland Drive. The council was pleased with their efforts. Dirt will be filled in after flag holders are removed. The holders will be replaced next spring.
The council discussed an anonymous letter inquiring about the town charging for paint as well as labor for painting parking strips. The town has charged for paint in the past but does not plan on charging for labor as it would cost more labor to do the bookwork. Some council members felt if one pays taxes that should do it. Church parking lots, nursing homes and such are private and regarded differently, Businesses pay taxes.
The library board is wanting the windows there replaced and it has been approved for some time. There just aren't any carpenters available right now to get the job done, but Ebert promises they will get on it as soon s possible.
The MMC homecoming parade route for Sept. 26 was approved by the council.