Florence moves ahead with plans for former school buildings


News editor

Marion County Planning and Zoning officer Bobbi Strait met with Florence City Council and mayor Monday evening to redirect the process for condemnation of the two former school buildings.

Strait told the council the property was transferred to the new owner, James Willoughby, on March 6.

"Even though the Hastings missed the March 3 deadline to appear before you with their plan for the buildings, you cannot hold the new owner to the Hastings' deadline," she said.

She instructed city clerk Janet Robinson to send copies of all the correspondence and related information to Willoughby by certified mail.

Florence city attorney, Marilyn Wilder, is reviewing the city's options for proceeding with the condemnation since the property has a new owner.

"If your attorney decides the procedures are correct and the rulings still stand, we will proceed with the condemnation," Strait said. "If not, this packet of information will restart the process and begin moving things forward."

Strait also encouraged the mayor to contact the register of deeds and file a disclosure statement on the deed so that any potential buyer will know the history.

"If someone tries to sell it again, the disclosure will be on it and potential buyers will be alerted," she added.

In other business, the council:

— heard a proposal by AFLAC insurance representatives for supplemental insurance for city employees. No action was taken.

— approved the annual resolution of support for Florence PRIDE Committee.

— approved a request from the ambulance crew to install a router for the computer.

— agreed with police chief Conroy Miller that some communication needs to be had with the director of the OASIS program in Florence. Miller has spent 15 hours or more a week in recent weeks to assist teachers and staff with unruly students. "We want to help when they have a problem, but this is a large amount of time and there probably needs to be some guidelines before it gets way out of hand," Miller said.

Miller also gave a report on additional criminal damage to property at Grandview Park. He said he has been able to develop some leads about who was involved and would pursue the case.

— heard that pens on the former football field need to be removed for Rex Savage to continue clearing trees on the field. The pens were used at one time to keep horses on the property for use by some special ed students. Robinson told council she would contact someone to move them.

— heard from fire chief Tim Parmley that his firemen took care of seven fires in the past week. Parmley also will get a bid on a pump that needs to be repaired, will purchase a new battery charger, and got a truck axle repaired.

— approved an expenditure of $200 for the purchase of a portable winch to lift pumps at City Springs.

— approved requests from city superintendent Phil Baldwin for additional street patch, repairs on the dump truck wiring, five gallons of weed killer for the banks of the sewer ponds, and permission to barricade a hole in the street at 9th and Main. Baldwin will get estimates on repairing the street problem.

— approved a request from Reilly Reid for the Labor Day committee to host the annual Spring Fling April 27 at City Springs. The city agreed to let the committee use the city picnic tables, to pay for "screenings" to add to the new rock at the Springs, and share the cost of portable toilets for the event.