By Lauren Brown
The City of Burns has hired two new police officers. Newton Skunkcap and Jeff Brewer will start work in the next couple of weeks, said Burns City Manager Justin Boone at the Jan. 9 council meeting.
Skunkcap grew up in Burns and worked for the Burns Paiute tribe before moving to Reedsport to work as an officer there for the last couple of years. Brewer is also a familiar face as he was born and raised in Harney County and has been working at the county parole and probation division.
“It’s nice to have two new police officers who know the area,” Boone said.
In other business:
• In his report, City Manager Boone said that the owner of the bowling ally, Troy Tribby, found a new investor, and will go ahead with his plans to renovate the building, with hopes for a summer grand opening;
• the council heard from Toni Steiner, a resident, who complained about speed at which the snow plows drive down her street. “Those trucks are flying,” she said. “They hit railroad ties and mailboxes. Gravel goes flying.”
Public Works Director Dave Cullens said that the plows aren’t supposed to go above 20 mph, and said he would talk to the drivers about their speed.
Councilor Len Vohs noted that the plow drivers have a tough job and commended them for working in less than ideal conditions;
• the council discussed the Special City Allotment grant. The city will receive $25,000 to put toward the resurfacing of a portion of Broadway Avenue from Railroad Avenue to Monroe Street;
• the council approved the purchase of a Chevrolet Colorado 4×4 crew cab truck for Fire Chief Bill Guindon. The truck, canopy and emergency lighting package will cost a total of $27,479.07. The truck will be purchased through a state bid process;
• during the councilor/mayor comments portion of the meeting, Councilor Bill Renwick noted that the watershed council is looking for support from the City of Burns to obtain funds for a groundwater assessment study. The watershed council would like to fund the study privately, as it will take four to five years to conduct and will cost around $500,000. The topic of groundwater in Harney County has been contentious lately because the state is threatening to stop allowing groundwater permits simply because they don’t know exactly how much groundwater there is here;
• Mayor Laura Van Cleave reminded councilors and residents that the next ordinance review session will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 16.
The next Burns City Council meeting will be on Jan. 23 at city hall.