During the regular Marion City Council meeting for December, two incumbents and two newly elected members took the oaths of office.
The Marion City Hall was filled Tuesday evening as numerous friends and family members came to witness the swearing-in ceremony following last month’s municipal election. Mayor Steve Little and Councilwoman Juanita Doggett both took the oath from Judge Randy Pool for another four-year term. Newly elected Woody Ayers took the oath from Pool to begin his first term as a councilman. Likewise, newly elected Ann Harkey took the oath from her nephew Judge Wesley Barkley to begin her first term as a councilwoman.
Lawyer Jennifer Jackson was appointed by council to become the city attorney.
Following the swearing-in ceremony, a reception with refreshments was held for the city officials, their family members and friends.
After the reception, the Marion City Council resumed official business. Four public hearings were held regarding annexations into the Marion city limits.
The first hearing was about the annexation of the Bost property on Carrie Street. This property includes two parcels, 1.25 acres and four dwellings. After hearing no comments from the public, council voted unanimously to approve the annexation.
The second hearing was about the annexation of four parcels on Moodytown Road and the owners had requested the annexation. This property covers 23.57 acres and four dwellings. After hearing no comments from the public, council voted unanimously to approve the annexation.
The third hearing was about the annexation of the Robinson property on Robinson Road. This property includes .20 of an acre and one dwelling. After hearing no comments from the public, council voted unanimously to approve the annexation.
The fourth and final hearing was about the annexation of the Rogers property on Shady Lane. This property includes 4.21 acres and one dwelling unit. After hearing no comments from the public, council voted unanimously to approve the annexation.
In other business, city of Marion officials made a lot of appointments Tuesday evening.
The council reappointed Councilman Billy Martin as the mayor pro tem. Patrick Cook and his wife Patricia Cook were named to the Tree Board.
Little also announced his list of appointments. When a new council takes office, the mayor appoints council members to various advisory boards and committees. Harkey and Councilman Don Ramsey were appointed to the Street Committee while Martin and Ayers were appointed to the Utility Committee. Harkey was named to the Tree Board and Martin was appointed to the Council on Aging. Doggett and Ramsey will serve on the Firefighter’s Relief Fund. Ayers will be a member of the Isothermal Rural Transportation Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee. Doggett will be a member of the McDowell Economic Development Association board and a city representative for the Marion Business Association’s Façade Grant/Design Committee.
In other business, the Marion City Council:
• Unanimously approved a traffic schedule ordinance to prohibit large trucks on certain streets in the Clinchfield neighborhood. Marion officials recently received complaints about tractor-trailers damaging property in this area. City staff determined that there is no way that large trucks can safely navigate these narrow streets. Upon adoption of this ordinance, which took effect immediately, trucks with three or more axles are prohibited from Lamar, Hill, Norton, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets. The city will soon install signs to advise truck drivers of this prohibition.
• Unanimously approved a revised interlocal agreement with McDowell County for the Nebo water system. The city and county have had an agreement in effect for the Nebo water system since 2005. Under the revised agreement, the master meter dividing the city and county water systems will be relocated from the intersection of U.S. 70 and N.C. 126 to the intersection of U.S. 70 and Stacy Hill Road, to allow for the county to complete a water extension the length of Stacy Hill Road. The revised agreement will be in effect for 10 years.
• Approved the purchase of a budgeted backhoe for the Street Department. The city will buy a backhoe from James River Equipment of Asheville for $112,767. Council also approved the financing for it. United Financial submitted the low bid for financing at 2.03 percent.
• Approved the purchase of a budgeted police vehicle. The city will buy a 2017 Ford Explorer for the Police Department at $41,294, which includes the upgrade for law enforcement equipment.
• Agreed by consensus to hold meetings in the various communities of Marion. Ramsey said he attended a meeting of the West Marion Community Forum and suggested that the entire council should go there as well. City officials said they would like to attend the meetings of the Marion East Community forum too.