Florence council suspends officer

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN MICHELE AVIS
Following an executive session to begin its Aug. 4 meeting, the Florence City Council permanently suspended officer Duayne McCarty from the police department. No reason was given for the suspension.

The council also decided that Timothy Wolfe would not be hired for the department because he did not pass “Triple-III” background checks, according to Mayor John Lehman.

The council also discussed the Kansas Department of Transportation’s decision to make the U.S. Highway 50/77 intersection a four-way stop because of a recent fatal accident.

Rumble strips and warning signs will be in place for about 40 to 60 days, but people present seemed to agree that vehicles waiting at the stop signs likely would be rear-ended despite these measures.

Del Leeds asked the council to pass a local ordinance to lower the speed limits approaching the proposed stop signs. Randy Mills suggested research be done to determine whether the City of Florence has the authority to lower speed limits on the highway approaching the new stop signs.

In other business, Officer James Parmley asked the city to provide him with a bulletproof vest valued at $350, plus shipping. He said the department’s vests are both too large and past their estimated shelf life of five years.

Tim Parmley’s motion to approve the purchase died because of no second, and the topic will be revisited at a later time.

Later when the council invited comments from the community, Estelle McCarty said the bulletproof vest should be purchased. Del Leeds agreed, and Trayce Warner said she felt it was a well-researched and prudent decision.

After hearing from the three residents, the council went into executive session and adjourned the council meeting immediately afterward without taking any further action.

McCarty also said signs prohibiting trucks on some city streets have become unreadable. Other comments included a request that Grandview Street be repaired, and a suggestion for a city clean-up day, which was said to be already in the works.

McCarty also expressed her gratitude to Rick Burcky and Ken Hoffman for their assistance when she fell in her yard.

Linda Britton reported unusual excess water usage, which is being investigated by city manager Stuart Funk.

Funk also asked that property owners be reminded of their responsibility to trim trees that overhang sidewalks, streets or alleys. Branches must be no closer to the ground than 8 feet over sidewalks, and no lower than 9 feet over streets or alleys. Notices of these ordinances will be posted in local papers.

Trayce Warner, representing the Florence Labor Day Committee, requested usage of picnic tables and Veterans’ Park for the entire Labor Day weekend, and Grandview Park for the Sunday morning church service.

A Dumpster, as well as extra trash-removal service on Friday, early Sunday and Monday mornings will be provided by the city. City streets will be blocked for various events.

Warner reassured the council that the committee carries insurance on the entire event, and individual event sponsors also must produce proof of insurance, limiting city liability.

Mary Maloney of the Hillsboro Saddle Club was given permission to use city properties for the Trail Riders trip from Marion. This year’s Labor Day event will be timed to allow riders to participate in the parade.

In other council business:

Paul Morrison presented information on the American Data Solutions Cashless ATM program to allow use of ATM, EBT, credit, and COMDATA cards at the city office. The decision on whether to adopt the program will be tabled until the new city clerk is trained.

Contractor licensing was granted to Reliance Energy Partners.

A request from Marion County Sheriff for a $50 donation to the National Safety Commission was approved. The money will be used to provide educational brochures to area students.

Stuart Funk presented a list of work orders ahead of city workers, including weatherproofing of city park equipment. He also gave an update on construction of the new water treatment plant, reported to be progressing somewhat faster than expected.

Funk reminded city employees to turn off gas pumps after use, after which Tim Parmley reminded city workers to properly replace water meter covers.

Travis Parmley of the Florence Fire Department discussed writing a new fire ordinance, presented bids for financing of a fire truck, and proposed an interdepartmental review board to encourage attendance of meetings; these issues will be revisited at a later date.

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