Florence City Council members agreed to host a special meeting 6:30 p.m. Thursday to make a decision on the purchase of two billboards on U.S.-50 from Clear Channel Communications.
Florence PRIDE Chairman Sue Klassen addressed Florence Mayor Greg Winn and the city council Monday evening to consider the sale.
Several weeks ago, following a similar issue being brought before the Peabody City Council and reported in the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, some Florence residents asked Klassen to contact Clear Channel Communications about the billboards.
Klassen talked to a representative who said the company would sell the two billboards for $1,500.
The PRIDE committee would be interested in purchasing them, Klassen said, but the committee does not have the funds. She asked the council if the city would be willing to make the purchase and allow PRIDE and other groups to buy the signs from the city.
Klassen told the council she thought there were enough local groups that would be interested in advertising their events that she could get the groups to commit to purchasing the signs from the city.
Winn asked Klassen to attend the special meeting to report the number of local groups or individuals that would be willing to help buy the billboards.
City Clerk Janet Robinson said the billboards occupy farmland owned by the DeForest Family Trust and that rent will need to be paid for the signs to remain in place. Klassen agreed to contact the DeForest family about their wishes.
Linda Britton Heath requested clarification from council members about the process of bidding on city purchases.
She referred to a special meeting Feb. 25 when the council approved the purchase of a new police car. The new vehicle was purchased with money from an insurance policy that covered the former car, which recently was totaled in an accident. The city contributed an additional $1,700 above the insurance offer.
Council members believed their contribution did not meet the threshold of an expense requiring a bid process to be in effect.
Mayor Winn agreed to research the legality of their decision and present his findings at the next meeting.
In other business:
- Wichita Tractor Co. will be hired to calibrate a computer system on a city tractor.
- Florence Fire Chief Mark Slater announced the department’s accident insurance plan is in place, he is waiting on information about the purchase of a fiberglass tank for the fire truck, and firefighters will be participating in an “extraction” school behind the ambulance building on Saturday.
- Robinson will be out of the office March 11-13 to city clerks’ school.
- Mark Slater challenged the city’s decision to make the intersection at Sixth and Marion streets a four-way stop following a single accident. Winn noted the decision was reached on a 3-1 vote. Warner and Ludwig acknowledged hearing many complaints about it from citizens. Harper said he had only had one comment and it was positive. Winn told Slater he could request a formal hearing at a future meeting to protest the city’s action. Stop signs already have been installed at the intersection.
- A road to the Mountain Man Rendezvous area had been rocked and more will be added prior to the rendezvous event this weekend. The city also needs to rent a stump grinder to remove several large tree stumps at the cemetery before mowing season.
- Warner told the council that Judy Creamer resigned as ambulance crew chief and was replaced by Carri Cress. She thanked Creamer for her years of service.
- Warner announced the historic designation of the water tower by the Kansas State Historical Society was achieves and the pursuit of additional recognition by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Police chief Conroy Miller gave his activity report for February and noted a new radio and lights were installed in the new police car. The siren will be installed next, followed by the application of stripe decals.