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Florence City Council: PRIDE will buy two billboards

Councilman concerned about the planning of events for symphony prelude

Staff writer

Florence PRIDE has decided to purchase the two billboards on U.S.-50 west of Florence. Clear Channel Communications owns the billboards.

At a previous council meeting, Florence PRIDE was hoping the city would buy the billboards and then sell them to the PRIDE committee when PRIDE was in a better position financially to make the purchase.

“I think they have the money now,” said councilman Randy Mills.

City Clerk Janet Robinson said Clear Channel had reduced the asking price from $1,500 to $1,221.

Metal to repair the signs has been donated to PRIDE and the labor for repairing the signs also has been pledged, Robinson said.

“I think we should table any action on this if PRIDE has the means to take over,” Mills said. “There is no longer any need for us to consider it unless things change in the future.”

Marion County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman presented an update on the “Prelude to the Symphony” activities June 12-13 in Florence before the “Symphony in the Flint Hills” concert June 13.

Mills, who with his family is hosting the actual concert on his land, requested a more detailed accounting of sponsors, food vendors, accommodations, activities, and advertising for the prelude.

Huffman was unable to provide the information he requested.

“The reason we agreed to do this at all is to help Florence and Marion County get some recognition, tourism, and a positive economic impact from people coming here,” he said. “If we aren’t ready for them, we have missed the opportunity. We’re kind of down to the eleventh hour on this thing.

“Why don’t we have the sponsorships we need for this?” he asked.

Huffman said she does not have the resources available to her in her position with the county to revisit all the businesses who did not respond to her plea for funding.

“I don’t have a staff,” she said. “There is just me. I assumed when I sent letters requesting funds, those who wanted to participate would send a contribution; those who don’t won’t bother. There aren’t enough hours to do all that needs to be done, much less call everyone who didn’t contribute and ask them again.

“The same thing applies to the food vendors and crafts people,” she added. “If they don’t want to come, I can’t make them.”

After lengthy discussion among council members, councilman Trayce Warner agreed to act as a more aggressive liaison between the city and Marion County Economic Development to be sure effective communication takes place.

In other business:

  • A positive audit review was presented by Dale Clark of Knudson and Monroe.
  • Insurance agent Bill Hendricks provided preliminary information about the city’s insurance policies. He reminded the group that Florence insurance premiums had remained rather flat for the past five years, but said they would take a jump this year. He will return with final figures at the next meeting.
  • Mayor Greg Winn appointed Robinson to serve as the city’s ADA compliance officer following a recommendation by former ADA officer Del Leeds. Robinson will receive a stipend of $100 per year for the job. She will be sworn-in at the next meeting.
  • Representatives of Morningstar Ranch east of Florence attended to thank the council for donating lights from the former football field to the ranch. They also requested help from the city getting 30,000 to 35,000 gallons of water to fill their swimming pool at the beginning of the summer season. After discussion, city superintendent Phil Baldwin said the city could spare the water from City Springs and he would contact the owner of Gorges Dairy to see how much it would cost to transport the water to the ranch.
  • Fire chief Mark Slater announced the burn ban had been lifted for the city, the men on the fire department will serve as storm spotters, a storm spotting class will be at 6:30 p.m. March 25 in the USD 408 Performing Arts Center, and a letter needed to be sent to Michele Abbott-Becker to let her know that the city knows that the fire department now will be paged for all injury accidents.
  • Slater and three other firefighters, at a cost of $450, will attend training April 22-25 in Great Bend.
  • Council members granted Slater permission to sell three pieces of equipment by sealed bid — a hose reel, an old pump tanker, and a truck engine.
  • Baldwin reported a chlorinator for the water plant soon would need to be replaced at a cost of $2,500. He also requested permission to spend $2,700 on an eight-foot box blade for gravel streets and roads, and the cemetery. No action was taken.

Last modified March 19, 2009

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