Florence Council votes to do its work without compensation

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN MICHELLE AVIS
The Florence City Council agreed at its June 21 meeting to rescind the ordinance giving them financial compensation for their council positions.

Other cost-cutting measures discussed included salary-range guidelines for various city positions and clarification of changes suggested for work structure among city employees.

Councilor Randy Mills said the goal of the restructuring is to gain work hours for less salary paid out by employing more part-time help. Changes will be reviewed at the next meeting.

The position of police chief will be advertised with an application deadline of July 9. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested parties will be sent information packets. Resumes and references will be evaluated by the hiring committee before interviews take place.

The city will apply for a grant to to repairs the Fifth Street Bridge following an evaluation of the structure by a Kansas Department of Transportation engineer.

A log jam that exacerbated damage to the bridge cannot be removed because the bridge isn’t structurally able to support the weight of log-removal equipment.

After Trayce Warner’s official appointment as head of the Emergency Preparedness Committee, she told the council that creating a citywide disaster mitigation plan would allow the city to apply for additional grant money for incorporating that plan.

The grant could generate additional funding for bridge repair due to the importance of the bridge as an alternative means of evacuation in an emergency.

Ordinances regarding the library board and how the city handles the library’s money were also discussed at length. Because members of the library board own the building, Mills asked that an ownership clause be added in case the library board was to “no longer exist.”

The city will continue to furnish the library with municipal water, but Mills said he had some qualms about allowing the library board to request emergency funding if needed. These matters will all be revisited at the next meeting.

In other business, the council:

— did not accept the contractor’s latest proposal to repair the city clear well because it did not guarantee the quality of work it would provide.

— amended, for the first time in 12 years, ordinances regarding yearly trash service contracts at Marion County Lake to reflect increasing fuel charges.

— agreed to research grant funding for communities adversely affected by highway construction.

— heard Councilor Bryan Harper say he will continue trying to contact Burlington-Northern Railroad regarding repairs needed at the Eighth Street railroad crossing.

— will look into an accident involving a garbage truck striking a low-hanging electrical service line. No injury to the driver was reported, but the electrical line and meter had to be replaced.

— will research whether street exit signs need to be placed near the highways.

— will seek more information on lightning arresters for the water plant from sources other than vendors of the systems.

— made fallen tree-limb removal a priority for city workers as a result of recent storms. Afterward, culverts will be cleaned, work will be done on sewer ponds and one nonfunctional fire hydrant in town will be replaced with a functional one removed during construction.

— heard that McCurdy Auction will sell the former Florence Health Care building at absolute auction at noon, July 7.

— appointed Mayor John Lehman, Councilor Dan Ludwig and City Clerk Darla Gore to a new city health board to address complaints about an abandoned house being a health hazard.

— heard that the ambulance department and fire department have each received two new communications radios, and the police department will receive one radio from the county’s 911 fund. All radios will be programmed to the city frequency as well as the county emergency frequency.

— agreed to sell by sealed bid a 1971 one-ton Chevrolet rural fire truck and a generator. The bidding will start at $700 and $200, respectively.

— responding to complaints about unattended children riding bikes on sidewalks, not following traffic markers and not yielding to traffic or pedestrians, will look into locating a rider-education program or other method of curtailing unlawful riding.

— will look into methods and pricing for controlling mosquitoes.

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