Service to citizens creates headaches for Florence city workers


News Editor

Following a report by city superintendent Phil Baldwin, Florence mayor and council members were torn between a desire to provide a service to the city and the problems involved in providing it.

Baldwin said that two days into the annual citywide cleanup week, about a third of the trash was still piled at the curb and trash truck driver Dan Kyle had already made two trips to the transfer station.

"On the one hand we are glad to see this stuff leaving town," he said. "But on the other hand it's been a real problem to get it loaded and out of here."

Council members discussed raising fees for some items that are bulky, hard to handle, or require special disposal.

They also agreed to look into requiring citizens to pre-sort the things they haul to the curb.

"I think we need to streamline this a bit to help the city workers," said councilman Bryan Harper. "There is no point in them stopping at a place and sorting out all the lumber, and then coming back later to sort through it again for iron or furniture or something.

"We need to make some requirements on how it is stacked up by the resident."

Councilman Randy Mills asked Baldwin to make a list of troublesome items and issues and bring it back to the council.

"We can review that and see what arrangements we can make and then present those to the community before the next cleanup," he said.

Council heard of another area of concern involving erosion along the Cottonwood River bank at the Fifth Street bridge.

Mills said, "The city needs to address this now before it gets so bad that we are looking at a major money issue."

No decision was made.

Discussion of a plan by the Labor Day Committee to move the Labor Day entertainment to the new gymnasium in Marion in case of bad weather was discussed. The council took no action, seeking more to clarify some stories circulating the community than to offer input.

In other business, the council:

— approved adding the city's support to a request by the county to endorse a "comprehensive highway program" for U.S.-50. County commissioner Randy Dallke was present to request the assistance. The plan will determine changes to the highway after 2019, but planning needs to be done now.

— observed the appointment and swearing in of Joe Box as Florence fire chief by mayor Greg Winn.

— approved putting a truckload of rock in the drainage problem area at the end of the alley behind Chuck Wagon Café. That is one of the alleys in town the city maintains.

— heard that health insurance premiums will be going up 40 percent when the city's coverage renews on June 1. Council agreed it is too late to seek new coverage for the coming year, but will look at other carriers between now and the 2009 renewal date.

— heard the pool is almost ready for the summer season, the baby pool will be painted soon, and a patron has offered to paint a mural on the wall of the pool house. A donor has been found to pay for the paint. Council members agreed to provide a family pass to the person doing the work. City councilman Trayce Warner also reported that the "adopt-a-swimmer" program had been well received by the pool staff.

— heard from Warner that she attended a CDBG grant workshop and got special assistance in her search for a grant to restore the city's water tower. Warner will begin that project soon.

— heard from police chief Conroy Miller that Florence police will take part in the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign for the Memorial Day holiday. The program will begin May 19 and end June 1.

— heard that Baldwin has had city crews mowing and moving equipment for Spring Fling. He and Larry Scriven have had some problems keeping the pumps running at the water plant, but the problems ironed themselves out and the plant is currently running as it should.

— heard also that Baldwin will have someone from Coating Utilities, Inc. in Florence this week to review the base and pad at the water tower and recommend a method of treatment. Baldwin was cautioned to check with historical society members to be sure the historic integrity of the tower remains intact. He agreed he would not commit to the company until he received approval for their plan.

— heard from Winn that regulations for people applying for building permits needs to be reviewed and discussed at the next meeting. Changes may need to be made to the current ordinance.

— approved allowing the fire department to burn trees removed from the former football field as a training exercise.