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Florence council considers pay raises for city employees

Staff writer

The Florence City Council is considering giving all city employees a pay increase of 3 percent.

Council members tabled a decision Monday until they determine their budget for 2012 at a meeting July 31.

A 3 percent raise would be $6,396 added to the general fund. The council discussed raising rates for solid waste service to equal the increase in expenses.

“I like revenue-neutral ideas,” council member John Swarm said.

Council member Trayce Warner lobbied for a change in charges for residents for solid waste. She said she brought figures to the council two years ago detailing that Florence was charging less than other cities in the county.

She also said expenses have increased. A trash truck’s axles need to be rebuilt, an expense Superintendent Phil Baldwin brought before the council later in the meeting.

Because fuel costs are a concern, council members discussed higher rates for rural residents.

“I like that idea,” President Randy Mills said. “It’s kind of like taking all that money from those rich guys and giving it to poor guys.”

The council will have a special meeting 9 a.m. Thursday to discuss rates for solid waste.

Flooding

Joan Berg for the second time asked the council about diverting water running down a hill on Ninth Street into the yard of her rental property.

She asked the council whether she could dig on her property to divert the flow of water. The council approved because the water currently runs into properties down the hill from Berg’s rental house.

However, the council also said they would clean out ditches for a second time to improve drainage. Baldwin said one of the ditches was above a gas line and the line might be moved.

“Before we move the gas line, let’s make sure it solves the problem,” Warner said.

The council decided to have Baldwin and Atmos Energy Employee Randy Dallke figure out the feasibility of moving the gas line. They also said they would go ahead with Swarm’s temporary measure of puting hay bales on the street to block water.

Recycling

Dallke, representing the Marion County Commission, attended the meeting to tell council members about the county’s recycling plan.

The county’s plan is to put containers in every city. The cities would pay the county and maintain the containers after a trial period of six months. Each city would be required to fill the container with three tons of recyclable materials.

“I can’t imagine we create that much trash,” Swarm said. “I don’t think we justify a container and somebody to maintain it. I think we would be wasting the county’s money.”

The rest of the council was not as adamant as Swarm and expressed interest in trying the container idea for six months. They did not make a decision Monday.

“I guarantee the volume is up,” Dallke said. “Florence is one of the highest volume cities.”

Water

The council approved the purchase of a check valve for a second water tank at the Florence water treatment facility.

Baldwin said a stream of water spewed from the tank when he visited the facility this weekend.

Cost will be $713. Florence is using 40,000 gallons of water a day, Baldwin said.

Last modified June 23, 2011

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