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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Marcus cuts police force

Friday, September 18, 2009

MARCUS - The Marcus Council wanted a two-man police department and they were successful in hiring two young men. They paid for their training and everything appeared to be going just fine except for one thing - the city coffers don't have enough funds to cover all expenses incurred.

Neal Galles, Marcus native, was named chief and his right- hand man was Randy Weflen. Weflen quit his other employment as he had a dream to become a policeman. The economy took a big hit in less than a year from the date of his decision to work for the town of Marcus. Weflen even went to work in raising money to cover the cost of his taking DARE classes so Marcus would have its own DARE trainee. The budget was in dire need of relief. Cutting personnel is no easy task.

Insurance costs for both men and overtime was the straw that broke the two-man department. Council representatives, Carl Nelson and Don Drefke met with Weflen and came up with four plans for the council to consider in reducing the department. They voted for Weflen to work one more month and receive severance pay for three months, which will allow him to pay a lower percentage on his health insurance. Everyone was sorry that this had to be done and are hoping he will find employment nearby. He was developing a great relationship with the children of the community..

The council sought neighboring communities to see if they needed a part-time policeman in order to share Weflen. It was not to be. More than one small town in the county do not have their own policeman as the money is not there.

Galles did remind the council that other town employees need to be reminded that overtime will not be an option for them as well.

The council also formally approved the ordinance for the hotel/motel tax of five cents drawn up by the the town's attorney, Chuck Knudson. At least 50 percent of money raised from that tax will go toward the local community center to help with maintenance. The council and mayor praised the efforts of the center's board as they have been climbing an up-hill battle of eliminating the debt while making improvements. The council would hate to see them get burned-out as they have done a great job.

Councilman Connie Ebert reported the public library building was ready for painting. Councilman Don Drefke noted their is a water leak somewhere in the furnace room which Ebert will check out. A bid was accepted for painting the library from Grant Hagey in the amount of $1,200. The primer paint will go on shortly and the second coat will be done in mid-October. A grant had been received to pay for the lighting improvements in the amount of $5,200 which helped considerably. The new lights will cut the light bill in half.

The council also discussed the present tree ordinance and asked the council members to further study the tree situation. Mayor Darrel Downs wants them to bring ideas how trees can improve the town while factoring in safety. Some branches are blocking the visibility of stop signs, while others can be potential dangerous to property, according to Downs.

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