Burns asks for help to clean ditches

Posted on October 19th in News

City would like to see a voluntary effort

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Faced with the possibility of more flooding next spring, the City of Burns is asking for the residents’ help in cleaning out ditches and culverts.

City Manager Don Munkers told the Burns City Council at their meeting on Oct. 12, that he had met with a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representative regarding flood plain management. Munkers said that FEMA was to provide technical assistance visits every five years, but it has been 12 years since their last visit.

Munkers stated that the city does have the authority to go in, clean the drainage ditch and then charge the residents for the work, but he’d rather see a voluntary effort.

Burns resident Jody Hill reminded the council they had set a deadline of Oct. 15 for the ditch to be cleaned out and that date was almost upon them.

Hill added that there were also problems with areas where the water flows through to get to the main ditch, and those needed to be addressed as well. “We need to get going on this because if you wait too long, you’re not going to be able to get in there,” Hill said.

Mayor Craig LaFollette stated that the city would get going on getting the ditch clean, and later thanked the residents who  have already made an effort to get the ditch cleaned out.

The Burns Comprehensive Plan does contain a section regarding Flood Hazard Regulations, and states that the ordinance includes methods and provisions for “controlling the alteration of natural flood plains, stream channels and natural protective barriers which help accommodate or channel flood waters.”

The council agreed that they need to get busy on getting the ditch clean before winter arrives, and reiterated that they need the voluntary help of citizens to accelerate the process.

City Manager Munkers reported they were moving forward, albeit slowly, trying to reach a contract agreement with the City of Hines on police services. Munkers stated he had drafted a letter outlining what the City of Burns would like to see in the contract, and the council agreed by consensus to send the letter to the City of Hines.

The council approved Resolution No. 11-544, which increases land lease rates at the Burns airport from 10-cents to 14-cents per square foot.

The increase would be in effect on new leases and/or lease renewals.

In other business:

• the council approved the rural fire suppression contract as written. Munkers stated that some residents thought the contract gave the city too much protection, however residents do have the choice to sign a contract or not;

• the city has begun work on a grant for sidewalks in the Slater School area. The grant would be for a little more than $400,000;

• Munkers reported the city has started to remove tin from the T-hangars at the airport, and if anybody wants building material from the hangars as they are dismantled, they are welcome to it;

• the council approved a $100 donation to Harney Partners for Kids and Families for the Red Ribbon Week  free barbecue and bonfire on Oct. 26;

• the council agreed to hold just one meeting per month in November and December. The council will meet on Nov. 16, and Dec. 14, and return to their regular schedule in January.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at city hall.

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