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Florence Mayor reflects on first six months in office

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 9:15 PM CDT
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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - The mayor of Florence is planning to launch a new program to address homelessness in the city.

This plan is one of several campaign goals Mayor Andy Betterton laid out when he took office six months ago.

Mayor Betterton made the transition from city councilman to mayor in the middle of the pandemic. He describes the last six months in one word: busy!

Mayor Betterton said what has surprised him about his city since taking office is the learning curve he’s had jumping from a city councilman to being the full-time mayor.

The pandemic, as it has for everyone, has made things different for Florence. But Mayor Betterton said the city is slowly getting back to normal.

First Fridays start back again in June and just last month 11 new businesses opened in Florence.

Mayor Betterton ran on the campaign of collaboration between local agencies.

He said his next big task is what he’s temporarily calling the Shoals care collaborative.

”My care collaborative is an attempt to address, number one issue we talked about is homelessness. We’ve got mental health issues, drug issues, panhandling issues. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but recently I met with a president of the Huntsville city council who is part of the element foundation which is a care collaborative in Huntsville. We’re trying to model that here in Florence,” said Betterton.

Mayor Betterton said right now, his primary goal is to get citizens of Florence vaccinated.

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