Florence council continues search for new police chief

Monday’s meeting of the Florence City Council began with the swearing in of Rick Turner as Ward 2 council member.

Mayor John Lehman proposed placing an ad in local papers for a police chief and asked input from those in attendance.

Officer Ken Hoffman said Florence needs city police coverage due to the number of businesses in town as well as the population.

He suggested that officers from surrounding communities be hired part-time to police Florence during busier times.

The city of Leon’s part-time police department was cited as an example. It offers no benefits packages to the part-time officers, which has proven to save funds for the similarly populated town.

Council members heard about progress toward on patching the sinkholes on Steve Hett’s property. The holes are believed to be contributing to turbidly in the city water by allowing rainwater into the aquifer.

Due to recent rains, the sinkholes contain about six feet of water and won’t be able to be fixed until drier weather.

Prices for permanent fix blacktop patch materials were reviewed and found to be $75 per ton when bought by the truckload. Purchase of about 7 tons will be necessary to begin work on city streets.

In other business:

Rick Burky asked that people be reminded to put trash at the roadside for pickup on Mondays.

Permission was granted to ask the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for a change of licensing from non-discharge to discharge in order to pump contents of wastewater lagoons into Doyle Creek.

All bids for the proposed water filtration plant should be in by May 15 to allow construction to begin in as early as 75 days.

Trayce Warner discussed the Spring Fling. She said that the next Labor Day committee meeting would be at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 27.

To avoid possible electrical code violation in stringing speaker wires on existing poles during Labor Day celebrations, remote speakers will be discussed as a possibility.

The council approved a motion for SWB (formerly Southwestern Bell) to be contacted to appear at the next city council meeting to discuss the June 30 expiration of SWB telephone franchise fees.

Tim Parmley informed the council of his choice to remain a city council member rather than take the position as fire chief.

Dan Ludwig reported on several ditches that weren’t running during the past week’s rain.

Tim Parmley mentioned that trees on 7th Street near the school needed to be cleared out; Ludwig said they they were slated for burning.

The council approved Officer Hoffman’s request that police department locks be changed at an estimated cost of $150 in order to maintain compliance with state statute.

A request to purchase a new printer led council member Rick Turner to donate a printer to the police office.

The council approved a request to purchase three new hand-held radio batteries at a cost of $62 each.

The council approved a request to purchase a private fax machine, not to exceed $250, which would be used by police officers to handle confidential materials.

This year’s budget shortfall was predicted to be between $30,000 and $40,000. To acquire public input on this matter, an informational town meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 29, in the Florence City Building.

Adding a 2 to 4 percent franchise tax on natural gas, to benefit the City of Florence, will be discussed. Copies of the city budget will also be made available to the public.

Requested burn permits will be granted upon recommendation by the fire chief.

Doug Eddy said a council member had come onto his rental property to say the house where he kenneled his dogs was about to have a complaint filed against it, rendering his work on the property “a moot point.”

Eddy asked whether the council would bear responsibility for the actions of a member or whether it was to be considered a private matter.

More from article archives
Senior Scribbles
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CONNEE WILLIS New library books arrive at the Senior Center...
Read More