• Last modified 599 days ago (Feb. 6, 2020)


Florence brings back standards board

Resident vows effort will tackle eyesores that frustrate residents

Staff writer

Florence city council reestablished a standards board Monday to combat nuisance vehicles and houses, with councilman Mary Shipman serving as the city’s representative.

“I’ll do it,” she said. “Somebody has to stand up and have some balls.”

The board will include Shipman, resident Darla Spencer, who was the driving force, and two additional community members.

“Whatever we decide we’re going to do to get this town cleaned up, we’re backed by everything,” Spencer said. “Once we get the standards board enacted, the team I put together is ready to start.”

The decision passed unanimously, but councilman Ken Hoffman warned the team that tough times could lie ahead.

“That’s the first step, but it’s not going to be an easy process,” said. “The vehicles will be the easiest place to start.”

Addressing dilapidated homes and vehicles, the standards board will not help the city clean up its drug problem, fire chief Mark Slater said.

“If you do that with the houses, you think that’s going to stop the dope,” he said. “No, you have to stop the dope.

“They’re going to keep moving around. You have to have law enforcement.”

The council previously served as standards board, as well as the health board, and planning and zoning.

While the city has no money budgeted for the board, there are grants available to handle blights in the community, Spencer said.

“If we’re not going to enforce our ordinances, I don’t know what we’re doing,” Spencer said. “I really don’t. We’re letting our town go down the drain.”

The council discussed giving employees a clothing allowance instead of paying for uniforms, which is part of a $379.92 monthly expense from Unifirst.

The charge includes rental of three rugs for the city building and 11 city employee uniforms delivered weekly.

“That’s darn near $4,800 a year,” Ken Hoffman said. “I think we can make a uniform allowance or something better.”

The January expense was paid, but the council decided to look into future alternatives.

“If we gave them each $250 a year and make them specify what’s allowable to buy and spend, you’re looking at way less than $4,800 a year,” mayor Bill Harris said.

A better alternative might be finding a less expensive supplier, councilman Matt Williams said.

“I’m not going to lie, getting someone else’s clothes muddy, dirty, and ripped up is a lot easier than my own,” he said.

A work meeting was set for Thursday to discuss with Florence’s baseball committee how to handle club funds and expenses.

“What you want us to do, what we have to cover and what you’re going to cover, let me know,” committee president Evan Slater said.

The committee has shied away from working as part of a recreation committee so the baseball teams aren’t grouped with other recreation activities like horseshoes, Slater said.

“We’re not trying to cut it away from the city,” Evan Slater said. “We just want the money that’s for the ball fields to go to the ball fields.”

Florence’s old-fashioned baseball team raised $1,800 in 2018 during its Labor Day tournament.

Last modified Feb. 6, 2020