Florence mayor fills positions, council reviews permits


News editor

Mayor Greg Winn made most major appointments for the city of Florence Monday evening and the council handled a number of routine issues with little or no fanfare.

Winn appointed the following: Phil Baldwin, city superintendent; Janet Robinson, city clerk and court clerk; Bryson Mills, municipal court judge; Mary Jane Grimmett, city treasurer; Marilyn Wilder, city attorney; and Conroy Miller, police chief. Mike Sigwing agreed to another term on the planning and zoning board and was duly appointed.

The council reviewed the process of applying for a building permit. Currently city clerk Robinson gives out the permit application and after the homeowner fills it out, it goes to the planning and zoning board.

"There really is no need for it to go there initially," said councilman Randy Mills. "They (the planning and zoning board) should only review an application if there is a problem like a need for a variance."

Council members agreed that the application should go first to city superintendent Phil Baldwin for review and approval.

"I think people are trying to comply with the new regulations," said Winn. "But we probably need to make it easier by giving them a copy of the regs when they apply for a permit.

"They need to have access to the right information, then Phil can approve their plans, and the whole process will go smoother."

Robinson was instructed to have copies of the regulations regarding easements, set backs, and other standards available for people wanting to apply for a building permit.

It also was noted that any commercial building upgrades or modifications should include the approval of ADA compliance officer Del Leeds to be certain public access is protected.

Council members also discussed setting up an "adopt-a-swimmer" plan for children whose families may not be able to afford a season pass. Several people in the community already purchase gift passes, but councilman Bryan Harper asked if it could be more aggressively pursued so that no child is left out.

"The pool is a good thing for Florence to have," he said. "Every kid should be able to use it."

Councilman Trayce Warner volunteered to talk to Lori Kirkpatrick, swimming pool manager, and set up a program of help for children who might need it. She will report back to the council.

In other business, the council:

— approved a supplemental insurance policy from AFLAC, providing there are enough employees interested to qualify for the group. The city will not pay for any of the coverage. The cost of premiums will be paid by the individual.

— heard that Midwest Paint Service presented a bid of $17,210 to paint the outside of the water tower. Council also was informed the historical society is working on getting a grant for water tower repairs. Baldwin was instructed to contact Cunningham Paint and Sandblasting for a quote that would include interior paint and repair to the tower and then talk to the historical society about the amount that would be needed.

— heard from Winn that Saturday evening Florence hosted a group of Indians walking from San Francisco to Washington D.C. The group camped at Grandview Park and were able to take showers at OASIS school. Food was provided by individuals in the community. Council indicated a willingness to reimburse expenses incurred to host the event and asked Robinson to find out what was spent.

— approved the purchase of 2008 QuickBooks upgrade by Robinson for city bookkeeping. Council unanimously agreed to allow her to select the version she feels will be most useful.

— heard that about 90 middle school students were in Florence Friday for community cleanup. Students painted playground equipment at Grandview park, picked up trash at Grandview and Hillcrest Cemetery, cleaned up several blocks of Main Street, and painted the concession stand at the baseball field. Baldwin and Robinson praised their efforts, saying they did an exceptional job.

— heard also that city crews had finished adding smaller rock to the roadway around City Springs, repaired a flatbed trailer used for hauling mowers, and had the air compressor at the water plant repaired.

— approved an expenditure of $210 for lumber for the floor of the repaired trailer, gave Baldwin permission to get a bid to repair a seal between the pump and motor at the water plant, and heard a new generator will be needed at a cost of $5,000 if the current gymnasium building is to be used as a shelter in case of a disaster.

— agreed to send Warner to a CDBG grant writing seminar April 29 at a cost of $30.

— heard a request by Leeds to not forget the drainage problem on the north side of 5th Street. "I hope you are keeping it on a priority list," he said. Water currently pools in a low spot in front of Leeds' house on 5th.

— heard a problem with the hot water system at OASIS school was discovered when the Indian visitors used the showers Saturday evening. Winn said he would address the issue before the city takes possession of the property.

— heard that Miller had a meeting with the OASIS staff about police assistance at the school. They will meet again to resolve the question of how much time city officers should be present when students present problems.