Chief laid off for budgetary reasons

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The City of Burns is in the process of adding another police officer to their force.

At the regular meeting of the Burns City Council on Wednesday, Aug. 8, City Manager (CM) Don Munkers explained that the city is down to just two officers because of the chief being laid off for budgetary reasons and the resignation of another officer. Munkers said they do have a reserve officer helping out and he complimented the officers for their work and efforts while being short on staff.

The city has put out a statewide notice for the position with a closing date of Aug. 15. The council will then set up a review committee for the hiring process. Munkers added that it is being advertised as an entry-level position.

Burns Fire Chief Scott Williamson reported that the extreme fire conditions that rural areas are dealing with this year are also found just outside the city.

As a precaution, Williamson visited with the county about re-establishing the firebreak that runs around the perimeter from the Burns Paiute Indian Reservation to The Truck Stop south of Hines. The firebreak was first put in in 1990 and then re-opened in 2007.

At the previous council meeting on July 25, Wayne Baron asked the council what it would take to allow him to place recycling collection bins at commercial areas in the community at no cost to the businesses.

CM Munkers said he had looked into the proposal and Rimrock Recycling is currently pursuing grants for bins and they have a good working agreement with C&B Sanitary. He recommended that the council give Rimrock 60 to 90 days to put things together before considering another proposal.

Councilor Dan Hoke said the recycling issue has been around for several years and asked, “What are we expecting in 60 to 90 days?”

Munkers said he thought the city should give Rimrock the time to see if they can get the bins and go from there.
After some discussion, the council agreed to give Rimrock the time and they would then re-visit the issue.

In other business:

• the council voted to sponsor the Burns Mile horse race at the Harney County Racemeet in September at a cost of $160;

• CM Munkers reported they are still working on a solution to address the cat issues in the community, but “there is no easy solution,” he said;

• the council was asked to review amendments to the Proposed Advisory Committees and Airport Code and submit any suggested changes;

• CM Munkers said there have been some points of contention regarding the fire suppression program at the airport, so the city will put the whole package out for bid and then see if there’s something the city can do themselves at a lower cost and pull that work back in;

• the council complimented the city’s public works department on the appearance of the new fence at the cemetery.

The next council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at city hall.

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