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Florence council, community not eye-to-eye

Staff writer

Florence city council held a 45-minute executive session at Monday’s meeting to discuss the lease regarding Crystal Springs.

City attorney Randy Pankretz joined the council in the session.

When the council came back into public meeting, they unanimously voted to have Gayle and council president Riley Reid attend negotiations with the DeForests Oct. 19.

Councilman Traycee Warner expressed concern that the city’s available funds are nearing their limit.

“We still have money, but we’re spending kind of fast and loose,” Warner said.

Community member Jeanie Meirowsky asked the council why they originally pursued eminent domain.

“Eminent domain is our last resort,” Reid said. “If we can’t work an option out with the family that’s agreeable for the city, then that’s a choice we have.”

Meirowsky challenged council members that the lease negotiation was taking too long, to which Reid responded that Meirowsky could have passed a deal when she was in office.

“It’s been a 99-year contract, you should have been working on it when you were mayor,” he said.

That the council does not use city clerk Janet Robertson properly, and should include her more, Meirowsky said.

“If you would depend on your city clerk, she could have kept you out of trouble,” she said.

Having been involved in the process for several months, the council has heard all the community’s comments, Gayle said.

“We’ve heard five months of comments,” he said. “We understand where you’re coming from.”

Warner said she saw members of the fire department speeding on their way to the building without just cause.

Fire chief Mark Slater was not present at the time she said that, but heard from others about her comments while the council was in executive session.

Slater took up the subject of Warner’s comments when the meeting was opened to community comments.

“The next time I ask if there’s anything that needs to be addressed, please address me,” he said. “Don’t throw me under the bus, because I’m here.”

Warner said she did not think of the matter until Slater left the room, but she did not appreciate tattling.

“You don’t like tattle-tales, it’s neither here nor there,” Slater said. “I will address my guys and we will go from there.”

Florence’s aesthetic features are in need of repair, local business owner Sarah Dawson said. Fallen concrete in front of the theater building has been marked by snow fencing for two weeks, she said.

“I have people from all over Kansas coming into my store and making comments about the town,” Dawson said.

A letter was sent to the owners of the theater building, with no response to date, Robertson said.

The Chuck Wagon building is in disrepair, but Florence cannot make a move because of a state tax matter, Gayle said.

“All I heard from the state was that it’s soon,” he said. “What that means, I don’t know.”

“Just driving around town, I’ve noticed a lot of our signs are in really bad repair,” Warner said. “Several of them are partially, if not fully, obstructed.”

A second executive session was held for half an hour to discuss personnel matters.

A motion passed unanimously to have Robertson and Gayle review applications for a working foreman/supevisor.

The county had an employee on a 90-day contract that had been extended, but he recently moved to El Dorado.

Gayle mentioned a problem with the city’s trash truck, which had a large crack in the loading deck.

“As soon as it quits raining, I’ll see if I can get that welded up,” he said. “If it’s worse by then, we’ll have to cut out however much to get back the good metal and replace what needs to be replaced.”

Last modified Oct. 11, 2018

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