Florence residents call new intersection ‘a mess’

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN MICHELLE AVIS
Calling the situation “a mess,” members of the Florence City Council expressed concern at its Aug. 18 meeting about the new four-way stop at the intersection of U.S. highways 50 and 77 on the city’s edge.

The Kansas Department of Transportation recently added stop signs along U.S. 50 after a fatal accident that killed two teenagers with Marion County ties.

Some attending the council meeting said they had seen trucks running the stop signs.

Officer James Parmley of the Florence Police Department will be patrolling the area to encourage compliance with the new traffic controls.

Parmley reported he wrote three tickets within 30 minutes of being on site.

In other matters, city employee Rick Burcky presented information about easements for construction of sewer and water services to Jim Steele’s construction.

The board of Cottonwood Valley Bank will determine whether an easement may be put on property owned by the bank, and City Attorney Bob Brookens will investigate other options.

The council agreed to sponsor Sara Cope for $82 in an advertisement appearing in the Hillsboro Free Press regarding her completion of the Leadership Marion County program. Cope will be a member of the LMC board for the next three years.

The council agreed to offer free gravel for use in alleys and mailbox areas. People interested in using the gravel on these public areas are encouraged to sign in with the city clerk. The gravel is not for private use.

City Ordinance 759, regarding open burning and fireworks, was amended to read that volunteer fire fighters will be dismissed from the department if they miss more than four consecutive staff meetings.

An exemption to the open-burning regulation was amended so that permits can be issued by the city clerk with the permission of the fire chief; permission of the city council will not be required.

To qualify for open burning, a responsible party must be named who will be on site for the duration of the burning. Also, the burning must be done within two days of issuing the permit. Burning on Sunday is not allowed.

Outdoor cooking will be allowed either in appropriate containers or in an area that has been deemed safe for cooking.

Fireworks may also now be legally sold and used in Florence on July 4 until 11 p.m. Fireworks can be sold by a bonded organization from 8 to 10 p.m., July 1-3, and until 11 p.m., July 4.

Doug Eddy asked about using a building that was donated to the city as housing for dogs. He said he was concerned about boarding his hunting dogs during the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays because the dogs are frightened by firecrackers.

In other matters, the council:

— approved the 2004 budget after reducing the mill levy to 81.656.

— approved a liquor license for BYOB in downtown Florence.

— agreed to donate $200 to Communities In Schools of Marion County for recreation and after-school activities.

— approved Ordinance 760 which increases the prices for cremation, burial, exhumation, plots and special fees at the local cemetery; at current prices, the city has been losing money.

— approved Ordinance 761, which specifies that work covered by city building permits must be completed within six months of issuance, after which another permit must be purchased.

— agreed to discuss at a later time the implementation of a city sales tax in order to lower the mill levy for homeowners.

— agreed to purchase a bulletproof vest for Officer Parmley.

— approved the purchase of a fire truck and air packs at a total cost of $31,500, with $28,500 to be financed with Cottonwood Valley Bank.

— decided to donate $200 to the Labor Day Committee toward the cost of portable restrooms for the Labor Day celebration.

–approved the purchase of 5 tons of road materials.

— heard Burcky’s concern about materials such as tires and refrigerators that are being illegally dumped at city dump sites.

— tabled Dave Dahl’s request for a reduction in his residential water bill due to a leak.

–agreed to solicit bids for the construction of a restroom at Grandview Park; the project will be funded by a donation from Harold Van Buren.

— welcomed new city clerk Darla McCarty, and expressed appreciation for volunteer efforts in the city-wide cleanup event. The volunteer hours will help in the city’s requests for grants.

— heard that Jannette Parmley is organizing a city cleanup for Saturday, Oct. 11.

— heard a proposal from Mayor John Lehman that a work meeting be held Tuesday, Sept. 9.

–agreed that the city council meeting that falls on Labor Day will be rescheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 2.

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