ORIGINALLY WRITTEN MICHELLE AVIS
Florence City Councilor Randy Mills asked fellow councilors at the council’s Dec. 18 meeting to consider whether Moses Shane Park could be relinquished, then followed the question with a denial of any rumors that he was the one interested in purchasing the land.
The exchange became a running joke for the rest of the meeting, with councilors and audience members ribbing Mills about his “future truck stop.”
The council did discuss, however, the amount of resources going into the park that could go toward improving more-used parks if the park was sold. The park land had been donated to the city by the state, so stipulations must be looked into before any action could be taken.
The issue was tabled until more information could be gathered.
Johnny Bass also appeared before the council to explain why he had moved a 1969 trailer onto a lot at the edge of town. Because he had not obtained the required permits prior to moving the trailer, he said, he was under the impression that it could be placed on the property and the county would allow it to remain there. He learned later that the property was within city limits.
The council referred to an ordinance stating that mobile homes older than 1977 could not be placed in the city even if they came from within the city. Bass was told that the building would not be able to be used as an office, residence or storage building and was asked to update the council on his plans for the property prior to making further arrangements.
In other business, the council:
— tabled the proposed annexation ordinance for land on the city’s side of U.S. highways 50 and 77. The ordinance will first be sent to city attorney Marilyn Wilder for review.
— will request that all “city limit” signs be moved to their updated locations.
— announced that the filing deadline to run for two council positions and for mayor is noon Jan. 23. Interested parties must apply at the city building.
— decided to give Christmas bonuses of $100 to full-time city employees and $75 to part-time city employees.
— heard that Santa Claus would be distributing gifts, which were collected by the police department, to two families on Dec. 23.
— will look into making a plan for repairs at Unity Park.
— approved cereal malt beverage licenses for Johnson’s General Store and the Junction Saloon.
— approved electrical and plumbing licenses for Inlow Plumbing.
— heard that the city needed to purchase a meter for measuring dangerous gasses before city workers could go into the sewer treatment equipment.
— heard that the sewer ponds are eroding on the sides and will need to be shored up. A plan will be drafted for regularly cleaning out the ponds as well.
— heard that people have been illegally dumping ashes into city Dumpsters, which is a potential fire hazard. Ashes deposited into private waste containers will not be picked up by the city trash truck because of this risk.
— heard that the city burn pit needs to be cleaned up again due to more illegal dumping of items other than clean wood. The city has received one warning from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, so the pit will be cleaned more often to keep it from being shut down entirely.
— asked city superintendent Phil Baldwin to bid up to $3,000 on a street sealer at a Wichita auction.
— thanked the people who volunteered to put the Christmas tree downtown.
— decided to take the advice of accountant Dale Clark when making budgetary changes to allow for fund transfers.
— decided to keep old light poles from the ball field rather than give them away.
— moved the next council meeting to Jan. 8.
The Florence City Council heard at its Dec. 4 meeting that Saturday’s Christmas party for the local children had been well received.
The barbed-wire tree in the intersection of Fifth and Main Streets was lighted to start the festivities. About 50 children and their families then filled the American Legion building. Snacks and beverages were available as children awaited Santa’s arrival in a fire truck.
Trayce Warner of the Chamber of Commerce reminded people to look in their water bill envelopes for coupons from local businesses. The coupons, along with a holiday PRIDE newsletter, were enclosed with the December water bill.
Acting Police Chief Erik King told the council the annual Christmas gift drive had begun. The police department will gather gifts for needy families in Florence, with distribution to take place Dec. 22. Donations are being accepted at the city building.
In other business, the council:
— heard that a petition has been circulated to put zoning up for a public vote at general election rather than just a council vote.
— will hire a surveyor to work on the annexation of land on the city’s side of U.S. highways 50 and 77.
— heard that street clearing had received positive feedback on most streets but that more work needed to have been done at highway entrances.
— heard that the fire department will work on heating a shed for storage of the air pack filling system.
— approved a police department request to have new radar equipment installed in police vehicles. The equipment was purchased with earnings from the Click It or Ticket program.
— asked truck drivers to be careful of downtown light decorations. Some of the ornaments have been hit recently, so local businesses are asked to pass the request to delivery drivers.
— clarified the city employee sick-leave policy- one doesn’t lose sick leave hours in addition to those taken.
— tabled for more information a request for old light poles from the city’s ballfield.