Florence council considers impact of unpaid motel bill

The Florence City Council discussed during its Oct. 1 meeting how a recent house fire was affecting a local business.

Councilor Bryan Harper said he?d told a local family to ?stay in a motel for a few days? after they lost their home in a fire. He was concerned that this might have misled them that their extended stay would be at the city?s expense.

Councilors confirmed there was no precedent for paying for such stays, but that an emergency fund did exist.

Councilor Warner will help City Clerk Janet Robinson research the city emergency fund to see if it can be used to pay for short-term motel stays in future similar events.

The council also confirmed the Red Cross had paid for toiletries so the family could stay with relatives in Florence as they had requested, so the Red Cross was not responsible for any of the motel bill.

Some audience members said the family had received money from insurance and shouldn?t necessarily have any of their bill paid with tax dollars.

The council heard that if the bill for that three-week stay in the Holiday Motel remains unpaid, the already struggling business could be irreparably harmed financially.

In police business, a large drug bust on U.S. Highway 50 could lead to the city receiving an additional police vehicle.

Part-time officer Jeremy Wilkerson intercepted ?at least two pounds of marijuana and lots of cocaine? allegedly being transported from Wichita to Junction City.

Councilors congratulated the officer and discussed how similar drug busts have resulted in income from legal fees and grants.

Police Chief Conroy Miller will be asked to write summaries of recent police activity to be presented at future council meetings he?s unable to attend due to training.

Del Leeds, speaking for the Florence PRIDE committee, asked that some playground equipment be moved from Veterans? Park to Unity Park to keep it from being destroyed by branches falling from a tree being removed.

Councilor Warner said proof of insurance for the tree removal would be necessary. She also wanted to see a more concrete plan for the park renovations before removing equipment rather than let it be unusable for several years.

The park is heavily used, especially when events take place across the street at the American Legion building.

PRIDE?s landscaping project calls for new equipment to be installed eventually, so the council agreed to move the equipment later when the project has progressed further.

A council member will attend the next PRIDE meeting to try to get a better idea of how the project is progressing.

The council approved PRIDE?s request that an area near the 5th Street bridge be mowed before the Fall Festival.

Fire Chief Tim Parmley received the council’s blessing to bring back the fire cadet program when he confirmed that the city?s insurance rates wouldn?t increase.

Parmley explained again how cadets would train alongside the current firefighters.

Each 14- to 18-year-old student?s parents and school must approve attendance in the program and verify that at least a C-average is maintained.

Parmley also reported that the fire department had received some new lights and a pair of gloves for a new member currently taking the Firefighter 1 course.

The council also heard that copper and lead testing of city water supplies may now be done every three years as the most recent tests have been acceptable.

The council approved purchase of two front tires for the tractor used to mow the dike.

Also, the council received a ?thank you? letter from Morning Star Ranch for the donated banks of lights from the former football field.

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