Marathon City Council votes not to adopt formal city seal

On March 12, Marathon Councilman Dan Zieg, Steve Cook and Luis Gonzalez voted not to adopt an official City of Marathon seal. The discussion arose out of a disagreement between Zieg and Councilman Mark Senmartin soon after the most recent election, regarding the use, or display, of a city seal in campaign endorsements and ads. Formally adopting a city seal is one way to control its use, according to City Attorney David Migut.

“I think this is extremely difficult to enforce. I’m just not in favor of it,” said Zieg.

Senmartin said the seal has been misused. “But whether or not it hasn’t, it’s ours, it belongs to the city. I honestly don’t see the big deal.”

The vote was 2-3, with Mayor John Bartus siding with Senmartin.

In other news:

  • The council voted to back the county’s proposed legislation to codify the state’s responsibility in taking cases, come 2023. City Attorney David Migut explained that although it’s called the “50-50” rule, Marathon could be subject to judgment costs higher than 50 percent without the new language, and lower than 50 percent if the new bill is passed. For more about this discussion, please refer to the Feb. 28 issue of the Weekly Newspaper.
  • The city received a donation from Courtney Macias from sales of her book “Journeys Through Irma.” This is the second donation to the city’s parks and recreation department to finance scholarships for the holiday and summer camps for children.
  • The council also tabled discussion of the affordable housing cash fund. The ordinance, passed in 2009, requires property owners who wish to move a building right (demolish an old building on a dry lot, and build new waterfront home, for example) must also pay to help develop affordable housing. They can do that by donating land, or building new affordable housing. Or, they can pay 10 percent in cash of the cost of a new affordable dwelling. In 2006, the cost of a new affordable house was set at $200,000.

The council agreed the percentage and cost of affordable housing was too low. It will reconvene during a special meeting to consider the affordable housing fund, as well as permitting and impact fees. Staff was instructed to invite stakeholders such as developers and real estate agents.

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Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.