ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Florence City Council decided at its Sept. 11 meeting to rescind the Aug. 21 decision to halt bulk water sales at the city standpipe.
The council drafted a rate plan after comparing fee structures of nearby towns.
Bulk-water customers will now be asked to pay in advance for the water, with a minimum charge of $10 for up to 1,000 gallons, and the $25 fee to have a city worker dispatched to unlock the tank.
Emergency purchases after hours or on weekends will have a $50 fee assessed along with the required minimum $10 purchase.
Sara Neal of the Chamber of Commerce asked the council to do more to revitalize the downtown district. She requested that the Standards Board and fire chief look at the buildings to find safety and fire hazards.
Neal proposed that fines be assessed to people who use downtown buildings for storage, cover vandalized windows with plywood, and refuse to sell the properties to people who want to start businesses in them.
The council decided to try to arrange a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, the Standards Board and local business owners.
Fire Chief Tim Parmley presented pictures to the council and explained how a fire hydrant has been being vandalized. The hydrant was illegally painted twice after it had been painted it the appropriate color.
Fire department volunteers have been painting the hydrants to match a color code that tells the size of the hydrant. The code was designed to help firefighters, particularly those from mutual-aid departments, quickly choose the correct tools for the non-standardized hydrants.
Parmley was asked to meet with Erik King, acting police chief, to discuss the vandalism.
King also gave the council more information on the new officer training program. Several people have called the city office to ask why two police cars have been traveling together.
King explained that when someone is in the unpaid training phase, a current officer will shadow that person. This helps in training as well as in determining when this open-ended training phase is complete.
In other business, the council:
— assured residents that the former nursing home was no longer being considered for use as a jail facility. The building was reportedly not able to be secured thoroughly enough.
— decided to purchase two computers with an extended warranty for a total cost not to exceed $3,000.
— heard that the Labor Day committee spent more than $20,000 on the celebration, but has not yet calculated possible profit.
— will send letters of appreciation to several people who helped with the Labor Day celebration and barbecue cook-off.
— heard from Parmley that the fire department raffle raised $1,000 toward the purchase of a new field fire truck.