Announcement of mill levy increase at Florence is premature


News editor

A mistake in the ad valorem tax numbers reported by councilman Randy Mills at the previous Florence City Council meeting was corrected Monday evening. The correction reversed the news of a mill levy increase for that city.

As the budget proposal goes to press this week, Florence citizens will find their mill levy decreasing by 3.3 mills rather than going up by 2 as previously reported.

"Yes, the numbers were wrong," joked Mills. "We'll do anything to get people to come to a budget meeting."

A final review of the numbers and some discussion of the purpose of the budget as the city's "road map" followed. A unanimous vote was cast to approve publishing the budget as presented.

Florence city council will hold its budget hearing Aug. 4.

An agenda item asking for council approval for a cereal malt beverage license for The Corral (an outdoor entertainment area behind Doyle Creek Mercantile) was approved by a vote of 2-1 with Mills abstaining and councilman Trayce Warner opposed.

Florence PRIDE committee was hoping to host a beer garden at the Labor Day celebration using The Corral location. The Labor Day committee has contract issues with the performer the committee has hired and the sale of alcoholic beverages near his concert.

PRIDE committee member Mary Jane Grimmett countered that her group had agreed to remain a given distance from the concert and to stop serving beer when the performance begins.

Warner encouraged representatives from both groups to get together and work out the conflict.

Mayor Greg Winn supported Warner's comment. He added that The Corral has a right to request the cereal malt beverage license and as long as they conduct business in accordance with the law, the city has no reason to place limits on the business.

In other business, the council:

— accepted the resignation of Joe Box as fire chief and the appointment of Mark Slater as interim fire chief until the firemen can vote on a new chief. Box cited personal conflicts as his reason for resigning.

Slater announced the department will have a landing zone training exercise at 7 p.m. Tuesday (weather permitting) and a helicopter will land at the vacant lot across from the city building. Slater invited the council and citizens to watch.

Council members agreed to leave to the fire department a decision on whether or not firemen are allowed to drive a fire truck to training or to an out-of-town meeting.

— approved the purchase of a ton of asphalt to continue patching city streets, two new tires for the trash truck, police ticket books, and new tires for the police car.

— viewed a letter from a citizen commending Danny Kyle's job performance.

— heard that Winn will meet with Lee Leiker and the special education cooperative to finalize the rental agreement on the Oasis building.

— agreed to review a city ordinance about micro-utility vehicles and all-terrain vehicles being used in the city limits.

— asked city superintendent Phil Baldwin to look into the purchase of a heavy duty picnic table for City Springs, a new lifeguard chair and sunshade for the pool as well as new rubber mats for the pool entrance.

— heard that Morning Star Ranch is looking for a vehicle to use to haul the light poles from the former football field. Council also agreed to put ranch representatives on the agenda for the next meeting to discuss a community cookout in appreciation for the many things Florence does for the ranch program.