In other business, city considers purchasing another car

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

At their regular meeting on Wednesday, May 13, the Burns City Council approved an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that should allow for successful completion of the helibase building at the Burns airport.

The council will receive bids and award the contract, the BLM will provide project management and quality assurance, and once the job has been completed, the BLM will transfer $30,000 to the City of Burns for the construction work.

The agreement states that any project costs in excess of the $30,000 shall be the responsibility of the City of Burns.


The council discussed purchasing a 2007 Ford Edge for $22,500 from Burns Ford. City Manager Don Munkers said to pay for the vehicle, the city would borrow the money from the General Equipment Reserve Fund and then repay the fund over a four-year period, plus 5.5 percent interest.

The Edge would replace a 1998 Taurus that the city is currently using as the administrative vehicle, and the Taurus would then be used as a courtesy car at the Burns airport.

Munkers added that the van that is currently being used as a courtesy vehicle at the airport is “a liability.”

Mayor Len Vohs stated the Taurus has 120,000 miles on it, and has been needing more repairs recently. “It may seem frivolous at this time to consider purchasing another vehicle, but in the overall picture, I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Vohs said. He explained that he anticipates staff attending more training sessions and conferences in the future, and that requires a reliable vehicle.

Councilor Dan Hoke said he didn’t think 120,000 miles on a vehicle was all that much, and wanted to know how much repairs on the Taurus were costing the city. He said if the city was spending $1,500 a year on repairs, it was still cheaper than spending more than $20,000 over four years. “And we do have one decent vehicle at the airport (other than the van),” Hoke said. “I don’t think I enough information on what the Taurus would cost us (in repairs) to make that kind of decision right now.”

The council agreed to table the decision until the next meeting so more information can be gathered.


Larry and Sarah Conway were in attendance to discuss a dog at large citation they received on Jan. 28.

Conaway explained that their dog had come out to the street to greet their own children who were arriving home on the school bus. “A woman who was working in the area saw the dog and made the complaint,” Conaway said.

Conaway said he pleaded not guilty to the complaint on Feb. 4 and received a Feb. 19 court date. Because his older boys were playing in a basketball tournament on the 19th, he asked for, and received a later date. “Then when we got back from the tournament, I saw in the paper that I was found guilty because I didn’t attend the Feb. 19 court date,” Conaway said. He said the date was apparently moved back to the 19th because the complainant couldn’t attend the later one, but he was never informed of the change. “They knew I couldn’t be there on the 19th,” Conaway said.

He added that they have an electronic system to keep the dog in the yard and, “It wasn’t a case of dog at large. It was our dog meeting our kids,” he said.

Vohs called the matter a “tricky situation” because of the circumstances involved, and said they would have to look in to the legalities of it. “I don’t know where to go with this tonight, but we can review it and see what we can do,” Vohs said.


Munkers reported the city was able to get a portable welder and two portable generators from General Services Administration (GSA) for just the cost of getting them to Burns. “It’s about $50,000 worth of equipment, and it costs about $2,400 to get it here,” he said.

Vohs added that GSA has lots of equipment, such as trucks and loaders, that the city could use in the future. He added that the only stipulation is that the city would be required to keep the equipment for one year, and then they could sell it if they want. “We could rent or lease the equipment during that one year though,” Vohs said.

In other business, the council:

• approved the amended franchise agreement for FTV fiber optics;

• voted to change the city’s credit card issuing bank to the Bank of Eastern Oregon. Munkers said the financial institution they were using was asking for individual names on the cards, as well as the individuals’ Social Security numbers and mothers’ maiden names. “The Bank of Eastern Oregon doesn’t require names on the cards or the other information, and I recommend the switch,” Munkers said;

• voted to accept the lowest bid of $26,500 for a bucket truck from Bend River Equipment Inc. The truck is a 2000 Ford F-550 4×2 diesel with 158,000 miles;

• approved Ordinance 09-803 regarding the franchise agreement with CenturyTel. The ordinance did include several changes, such as changing the term of the franchise from 20 to five years, and increasing the franchise fee from 4 percent to 7 percent.

The next council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at city hall.

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