Florence council discusses delinquent water policy

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN MICHELLE AVIS
At its Jan. 3 meeting, the Florence City Council discussed water shut-off and restoration practices.

Under current policy, bills are sent out after the first of the month and must be paid by the 15th. Delinquent accounts may have water shut off on a Friday, leaving residents without water over the weekend if unable to pay the bill during working hours that day.

Councilor Bryan Harper suggested that water not be shut off on Fridays; rather the standard policy should be “Thursday after the 15th.” He felt this would give people who work out of town and may have forgotten to pay the bill a chance to have service restored before the weekend.

Councilor Randy Mills suggested an increase in disconnect and reconnect fees to encourage a particular group of people to stop “waiting until after they get shut off” to pay their bills.

The council will look into the issue and address it at the next meeting.

Venetia Miller appeared before the council to offer the city an opportunity to purchase a lot from her upon which Grandview Road encroaches. She is unable to use the property and said the sale would be preferable to having the road removed.

She was asked to commission a survey and present it to the council before further action would be taken.

The council also heard about work done at the city tree farm by Leonard Ellis and numerous other volunteers. Cottonwood trees that were falling into the river near the Fifth Street bridge were removed. The tree farm’s stone sign is now in place as well.

The council agreed to reimburse Ellis for five quarts of tree-stump killer purchased for use at the tree farm. Ellis also asked that bank stabilization be done on the dike and mentioned that the area within 10 feet of the dike base must be kept clear as per the Army Corps of Engineers agreement with the city.

In other business, the council:

  • approved 2006 licenses for general contractor Sumi L.P., Roger Johnson for electrical work and Tony Schafer, doing business as Tony’s Plumbing.
  • heard that an Emergency Medical Services appreciation event will take place in Hillsboro Jan. 21. The city will donate $100 and granted a request for an additional $100 donation to be taken from the ambulance account.
  • heard that a community meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m., Jan. 11, at the American Legion building at Fourth and Main streets for the purpose of signing up volunteers for construction of new low-income houses.
  • heard the Florence Police Department express gratitude to those who donated to provide holiday gifts to several local families Dec. 22.
  • learned that several people are available to work community-service hours. The council will decide whether to use these hours and for what purpose.
  • announced that it will address a longtime drainage issue, popularly known as “Leeds Lake.” The large puddle between Del Leeds’s home and the Chuckwagon Cafe will be filled with rock until drainage can be properly addressed.
  • decided to offer a three-month trial trash service to a rural Burns residence as long as mileage surcharge is paid. Other residents on that road will be contacted to see if they’re interested in trash service.
  • found out which city vehicle fuel purchases would be tax-exempt and will begin keeping records on fuel usage for tax-accounting purposes.
  • announced that a closed meeting would be held Jan. 7, but a quorum would not be present and no official decisions could be made.
  • went into a 20-minute executive session for personnel-related matters, with action to follow. Upon return to open meeting, a special meeting was announced for Monday, Jan. 9, and the council went back into executive session with police officer Erik King. No decision followed.
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