Residents like current agreement with Burns police
By Randy Parks
The Hines Common Council held a special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 30, to once again receive public input on the siting of the gazebo and police services for the city.
City Administrator Joan Davies presented a comparison of the two sites being considered for the gazebo, and then opened up the meeting for discussion.
JoAnn Hofman stated she’d like to see the gazebo built in the field south of city hall, as it would provide some distance from the playground area on the other side of the highway. “The adults deserve to have a park. Kids already have three,” she said.
There was some discussion about access to rest rooms, and the safety issue about kids running back and forth across the highway was again discussed.
Davies said a fence could be built along the highway to funnel foot traffic down to the crossing light, and the city could get help funding for the fence from City Insurance Services.
Regarding police services for the city, Mayor Nikki Morgan reviewed the proposals from the City of Burns and the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, and said a third option would be for Hines to have their own police force.
Several in attendance stated that the agreement Burns and Hines have currently seems to be working and they don’t see a reason to change.
Burns City Manager Don Munkers stated that there are four issues with the current agreement that would need to be addressed to keep services as they are.
Sheriff Dave Glerup said that the population of the county has been dropping in the past several years and if that trend continues, law enforcement at all levels will probably have to downsize.
Jack Gideon stated he keeps seeing taxes going up and it’s up to the city to, “manage our money in the best way possible.”
Mayor Morgan said there is no timetable for the council to make a decision, and she added that while the budget is a factor, service to residents is the foremost concern.
Davies also reviewed a proposal from SoundEarth Strategies to clean up the groundwater at the former Tim’s Time gas station on Hwy, 20 South.
Councilor Brent Drury said the company shouldn’t be allowed to put contaminated water into the sewer system or dump it on the ground, and the council voted to uphold the ordinance they recently passed to not allow any contaminants to be dumped onto the ground.
The council also voted to write a letter of support for the proposed expansion of Eastern Oregon Academy.
The next Hines Common Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept.13, at city hall.