KDOT presents plans for roundabout near Florence

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN MICHELLE AVIS
Representatives from the Kansas Department of Transportation presented two possible configurations for the proposed roundabout at the June 7 meeting of the Florence City Council.

Described as being “similar to the one in Payola,” the roundabout would replace the four-way-stop intersection of U.S. highways 50 and 77.

The five-leg plan allowing access to 8th Street was accepted after review of safety records of roundabouts versus this type of intersection.

Evaluation of plans for construction on Highway 77 show that the project likely will take longer than the one year estimated, so the roundabout will be built at the same time while 77 is detoured onto Highway 50. Construction will begin this spring and is estimated to continue until 2006.

Police chief resigns

While assuring the council that allegations against him were completely false, Police Chief Merlin Stout turned in his resignation, effective June 1.

In a letter to the council, Stout said he felt it would be difficult to regain the community’s trust, and his resignation would allow the city to seek a replacement rather than waiting for Stout to be exonerated.

Councilor Randy Mills proposed creating a panel of four to six qualified individuals to help screen prospective candidates for the position.

“Florence has had a real problem with police people for the past few years,” Mills said.

The committee would check backgrounds, interview candidates, and come to a unanimous decision before hiring a new police officer. Councilor Ed Robinson will be a liaison with the panel.

Councilor Mills also presented a proposal for restructuring city employee time in order to receive more usable hours on task. Time and salary will be discussed and revisited at the next meeting.

Melissa Parmley complained that the pool wasn’t open every day after 6 p.m. for families to swim even though the city is already over budget on the pool and will lose money on it being open.

Later, it was decided the pool would remain open from 1 to 6 p.m. seven days a week with additional hours for “Family Swim Mondays and Fridays” from 6 to 8 p.m. and adult swim Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. A hog roast will also be held at the pool at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 19, to raise funds for the city pool.

Go-cart use

Attorney advice has been received regarding use of the football field for go-carts or other non-street-legal vehicles. Since go-carts have a reputation of being high-risk, the city’s insurance would be dropped if the vehicles were allowed to operate without direct city supervision on city property.

OASIS, the special education institution in town, will be asked to present a certificate of insurance protecting children riding horses in the pen at the football field.

Other business

In other business, the council:

–agreed to look into options other than the contractor’s suggestion of grinding out the cracks in the city clear well cover, filling them and decontaminating the well afterward.

— heard that evaluation of the Fifth Street Bridge has provoked concern over its structural integrity; more research is needed.

— heard from Sarah Cope about the town meeting with K-State’s David Darling, whom she hopes will moderate the next meeting in September. The city slogan “Crossroads of the Nation” will be revived and more marketing of the city will be developed.

— decided that Ken Hoffman will be paid overtime because of work that occurred during an emergency situation. In this as well as future cases, only emergencies determined by the mayor will permit deviation from the employee handbook.

— heard that Hoffman has qualified as Water Supply System Operator after state licensing testing June 2. He also thanked people who donated use of equipment for patching of potholes.

— heard that fill dirt from U.S. 50 construction will be donated to the city.

— decided to purchase a RPZ back siphon valve at a cost of $280 so that water can be sold to Ritchie Paving. After the price of the valve is recovered from the water sales, millings will be traded for at a value of $2.75 per ton to be used in city road work.

— took no action on a proposal to buy lightning arresters needed for the water plant priced at $1,200 for individual non-replaceable units installed on the equipment and $3,800 total for protection of the whole building, with $500 replacement “fuses.”

Action was delayed so more research can be done on whether a less expensive motor is similar enough to the one needed to provide adequate oilfield equipment protection.

— heard about maintenance needs, including sewer ponds and a fence around the dike. The dike also needs to be mowed, but this will be delayed to see if anyone expresses interest in mowing it.

— heard that the city springhouse roof needs to be replaced because shingles are crumbling. Branches also need trimmed in the driveway to allow tourists to view the landmark. The issue will be discussed at the next meeting.

— cancelled a special meeting planned for June 22.

— thanked the pothole patching crew for making timely repairs.

— heard Randy Mills thank Ed Robinson for outstanding service as a councilor, going beyond the call in many volunteer efforts.

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