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Smooth sailing for Florence budget

Staff writer

Florence mayor and city council had no comments, complaints, or compliments Monday evening from any of the eight people present for the 2009 budget hearing, immediately preceding the regular council meeting.

The budget, with an 85.391 mill levy, was approved unanimously as presented and the hearing was adjourned in a matter of minutes.

Moving immediately into the regular meeting, councilman Randy Mills noted during discussion of warrants, that a $36,105 payment being made this month for the water plant would finally retire the debt for that project. The plant was designed and built in the early 1990s and abandoned shortly thereafter because of engineering problems. A second water plant was built and is being used by the city today. The city still is paying for the second plant.

Neva Robinson addressed the council on behalf of Florence Historical Society about a historic designation for the city water tower on U.S.-50. Robinson said the National Trust for Historic Preservation had accepted her preliminary application.

Robinson said she is working on the final application and requested city approval for the scope of the project, a signature to indicate the city owns the property, a legal description, and a city map showing the property location. The council gave unanimous approval to the request.

Reilly Reid presented Labor Day committee’s want list and reviewed the event with mayor Greg Winn and council members. Mills requested that Reid approach the chamber of commerce about helping with funds to pay for 20 portable toilets.

Council agreed to assist with the following: the use of extra dumpsters, barricades, and picnic tables, sweeping Main Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, and spraying mosquitoes a week before the event. Reid also received permission to use a city tractor and driver to pull passenger trams, the use of city lots south of the library and Junction Saloon for a carnival, the assistance of Florence emergency services as needed during the event, and a city employee on-call for the weekend.

The committee wants to move a couple of events and have adequate parking space on the night of the Michael Martin Murphy concert. They were granted permission to move the Soap Box Derby to Fifth Street and the ranch rodeo to the lot near the Scout house. The former football field, gym parking lot, and water tower lot will be used for concert parking.

In other business, the council:

* entered a 20-minute executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel. No action was taken on return to open meeting.

* approved the purchase of six temporary handicap parking placards for use in the downtown area during the Labor Day celebration.

* heard from city superintendent Phil Baldwin that repairs at Ninth and Main streets will be completed and the concrete cured before Labor Day. Baldwin also express frustration at the number of residents who drove through the work area, some of whom moved the barricades so they could drive across Main or Ninth street.

* requested that Legion members place a few flags at the entrance of Hillcrest Cemetery for Labor Day.

* agreed to table a decision on the purchase of two new warning sirens for the city until councilman Trayce Warner has a chance to research the availability of Homeland Securtity grant money. Bids from Sentry Siren and Whelen Sirens indicate a cost of $4,750 for each siren with battery backups costing between $4,000 and $13,000 each. Shipping costs and pole installations would be additional costs. The sirens will replace two outdated sirens that don’t sound when the power is out and don’t cover the entire city when they do work.

* accepted a bid from Greg Johnson Construction for $5,520 to rebuild a sidewalk and curb on the south side of Veteran’s Park. The improvement will be part of the park renovation.

* heard from Baldwin that a large catalpa tree at the cemetery is hollow and needs to be removed, instruments at the water plant need to be re-calibrated at a cost of $1,312.80, new parking stripes have been painted on Main Street that are uniform in size, two warning tickets were issued Aug. 1 to residents who were mowing their lawns and blowing the cut grass into the street, and that the Marsh Buggy will be in Florence in September to begin cleanup of log jams on the Cottonwood River.

* discussed an erosion problem at the Mountain Man Rendezvous site along the Cottonwood River. No decision was reached, but council agreed to add concrete “rip-rap” at the area as removal of street and sidewalk material takes place in the future.

* heard from police chief Conroy Miller that the brakes and transmission are failing on the better of the city’s two police cars. No action was taken.

Last modified Aug. 6, 2008

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