Turner resigns from Florence council

The Dec. 1 meeting of the Florence City Council opened with the news of Rick Turner’s resignation from the council. The resignation, reportedly due to a conflict of interest, took effect Dec. 1.

Ed Robinson Sr. was proposed and accepted as Turner’s replacement. Robinson was sworn in as councilor for Ward 2.

City Clerk Darla Gore reported that no update has been received on lighting for Johnson’s General Store. She also had no new information on what can be done with the football field the school district had given the town conditional permission to use.

No economic development may be done on the property, which was part of the original school district prior to 1969.

Fire chief Travis Parmley withdrew his request to convert a 1972 city truck into a Hazmat response vehicle and “command vehicle” daily driver by installing tool boxes and an air pack refilling system.

Parmley had said he would buy his own fuel for usage other than on city business and keep the truck sheltered in his carport. Improvements will be made to the truck, but the truck will remain parked at the fire department when not in use.

When comments were taken from the audience, Paul Morrison pointed out that the recent repainting of the “antique stop sign” in the middle of Main Street from yellow to dark red has made the 6-inch tall metal triangle dangerous to those who don’t drive through town often enough to be aware of it.

While some members of the council thought the sign could just as well be removed for sale at auction, several audience members defended the sentimental value of the sign.

Morrison and Police Chief Merlin Stout have since volunteered to apply reflective tape to the sign, which, due to being hit by motorists, has already lost most of its paint and become dark gray and easily obscured by darkness.

In other business:

— Four-inch pipe carrying overflow from the new water treatment plant to a culvert on the north side of the dike will be partially buried and covered with soil in hopes of preventing the pipe from freezing.

— Jim Steele’s sewer and water trenching was scheduled to begin Dec. 2.

— The city had given Holiday Motel permission to erect its sign on city property in 1986; this lease was extended for the next 26 years.

— Doyle Creek Land and Cattle Company’s bid in the amount of $140 was accepted for tires and rims removed from the city garbage truck. Councilor Randy Mills abstained from voting due to a personal interest in this matter.

— The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has given the city permission to discharge treated wastewater from the lagoon.

— Rick Burcky proposed that a plan for solid-waste pickup at various organizations be contracted at reduced rates. The plan will be considered and discussed at a later date.

— The domain name contract for www.FlorenceKS.com will be renewed at a cost of $15 per year.

— As of Feb. 1, 2004, the city’s part-time assistant clerk position will be reduced to no more than 17.25 hours per week, accumulated over the month to no more than 69 hours per month. Current average hours worked range between about seven to 12 hours per week of a maximum of 25.

— Councilor Randy Mills, pointing out that the swimming pool is costing the city more than $10,000 per year to operate, suggested that civic activities take place to help fund activities for children in Florence.

— Mills requested a written summary of the duties and requirements of the city treasurer.

— $169 was requested and approved for renewal of the city’s payroll software license, expiring in February 2004. The update automatically keeps the software current with changes in tax law.

— Purchase of 25 all-weather flags at a cost of $17.95 each will be discussed later.

— A total expenditure of $200 was approved to send four ambulance members to a bio-terrorism workshop in Wichita.

— The ambulance department will use $500 to $640 from its budget to buy polo-type shirts for its members.

— An increase in ambulance rates may be considered at a later date. Florence Ambulance transportation rates are currently about $100 less than county rates, so an increase could bring rates closer to Medicare’s allowed payment.

— Fire and ambulance departments will have a combined Christmas party Dec. 14.

— The meeting ended with a 25-minute executive session on personnel matters, with no action following.

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