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Burns continues spring cleaning

 

With the spring weather upon us, the city of Burns is continuing its effort to get residents to clean up their properties.

The city will have several dumpsters placed around town May 12-14 to encourage property clean up. The dumpsters are for tree limbs, brush, and yard debris. C&B Sanitary will have the dump open on Saturday, May 6, and will allow residents to drop off old appliances, yard debris, and brush for free. All other items will need to be paid for by cash or check.

The city is also introducing a new plan for clean up this spring. The city is offering three dumpsters free to residents, and three dumpsters free to properties along Broadway and Monroe, extending one block on either side of those streets. The dumpsters will be made available on a point system where three or more neighbors working together will rate higher than a single residence. The city encourages neighbors to pitch in together to clean up their neighborhood. The city is also asking for before and after photos of the area designated for clean up and a list of residents who will be participating.

After June 30, any dumpsters not used will be available on a first-come basis.

For more information on the clean up and the dumpster program, call city hall at 541-573-5255.

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At a special meeting of the Burns City Council on Thursday, April 6, the council approved Resolution No. 17-637 increasing a number of city fees. City Manager (CM) Dauna Wensenk explained it has been several years since the last increase, some even dating back to the 1980s.

The connect fee for water inside the city will increase from $1,000 to $1,500, and for outside the city, the rate will jump from $1,400 to $2,000.

The sewer connect fee, which has been in effect since 2010, will increase from $600 to $1,000 inside the city, and from $1,200 to $1,700 outside city limits.

The cost of an annual livestock permit, unchanged since 1980, will go from $5 to $25, and the animal impound fee increases form $75 to $100.

The cost of a business license increases $25, making it $75 inside the city and $100 outside the city.

Fee increases will also be seen for cemetery services.

A complete list of the updated fee schedule is available at city hall.

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CM Wensenk told the council a list of concerns from residents, the cities and the county about the recent flooding had been compiled, and a meeting will be held to discuss the spring runoff and the ensuing flooding.

They are expected to assess the drainage off the hills, what can be done to improve that, issues with the Silvies River, and come up with a maintenance plan.

“We are going to try and work on  it this year, see what we can do to make it better, and not just put it on the shelf like what was done several years ago,” Wensenk said.

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The council discussed the bid review from Ferguson Surveying and Engineering for the 2017 street repair project. The project includes crack sealing a portion of W. Pierce and Railroad avenues, and either chip sealing or reconstruction of South Egan from the stop light to W. Pierce.

The council looked at the costs involved and agreed that reconstruction of S. Egan would be better in the long run, but there were still some questions about the bid amounts. The issue was tabled until the next council meeting.

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CM Wensenk said restrooms are being put in at the Arrowhead Plaza this year and the engineering firm inquired as to whether the cities of Burns and Hines would be interested in putting in the same restrooms in city parks to keep a “theme” going through the towns.

Wensenk presented the council with a proposed floor plan and said the project is estimated to cost $25,000 to $30,000. She asked if the council would be interested in putting a new restroom in at Washington Park?

The council held a lengthy discussion on different construction materials, the ongoing vandalism at the restrooms at Washington Park, the possibility of installing security cameras and lighting at the park, and what fixtures would work the best.

The council instructed Wensenk to investigate the matter a little more and report back to the council.

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The council approved a proposal from H.A. McCoy Engineering and Surveying LLC to perform a pavement condition survey and evaluation of streets in the amount of $34,000.

CM Wensenk said the city had advertised for the project and three firms had submitted proposals. The proposals were then reviewed by Wensenk, Councilor Liz Appelman, Councilor Gary Estep, and Public Works Director Pedro Zabala, and the group recommended the H.A. McCoy proposal.

A time was then set up to meet with H.A. McCoy to talk about the proposal and discuss the project.

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In other business:

• the council appointed Dean Draper, Ella Murdock, Sherrie Modey, Kari Nelson, and Jan Cupernall to the budget committee;

• the council approved extending the contract with Oster Professional Group, CPAs for one year to provide audit services to the city;

• Police Chief Newt Skunkcap reported his department has a reserve officer in training, and the department’s drug dog will be going to try and get certified in the coming week;

• during the councilor comments portion of the meeting, Appelman stated she was a little uncomfortable raising the city fees because she doesn’t know exactly what is in the budget.

“I don’t want anybody to lose their job, let me say that up front, but we need to be able to defend what we do,” Appelman said. “I think we need to review what’s in the budget or know it a little better before we can really defend it.”

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The Burns Planning Commission currently has three vacancies. The city will be accepting letters of interest until April 30 or until filled. The letter of interest must express your reason for interest in serving on the commission and verification that you reside within the city of Burns. For more information, contact Mindy Clemens at Burns City Hall.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at city hall.

Randy Parks

Editor
Randy was born in Iowa, and spent most of his life growing up in the Hawkeye State. After a few years in college, he settled in Idaho for a decade, skiing, golfing, and working at Sun Valley Resort. He married in 1985, completed broadcast school, and moved to Harney County in 1989 to work for KZZR. After 16 years of on-air work, he left the radio station and went to work for the Burns Times-Herald.

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