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Recycling issue also addressed at council meeting
by: Randy Parks
As the holidays grow closer, the city of Burns is planning for another Christmas festival.
Burns City Manager (CM) Don Munkers told the council at their meeting Wednesday, Nov. 14, that plans are under way for a whole day of activities on Dec. 8.
The day’s activities will include Breakfast with Santa at Burns Elks Lodge, vendors at the Community Center and along Broadway, hayrides and bonfire at Washington Park, pictures with Santa at Ruthie’s, a “canned food” movie at the Desert Historic Theatre, gingerbread house contest, games, refreshments and a host of other activities. The Christmas parade begins at 6 p.m., followed by a bonfire at the Christmas tree in the lot across from Safeway.
Munkers said they have a tree donated to the city once again this year to use for the festivities.
The city will also be holding their Christmas Lighting Contest, with judging to take place on Thursday, Dec. 20.
Residents may register their home for the contest at Burns City Hall or at the Harney County Library.
First place will receive $100 cash donated by C&B Sanitary Service and $100 off their electric bill donated by Oregon Trail Electric (OTEC); second place, $50 cash donated by C&B Sanitary Service and $50 off their electric bill donated by OTEC; and third place $25 cash donated by C&B Sanitary Service and $25 off their electric bill donated by OTEC.
At 6:30 p.m. the council opened a public hearing to discuss recycling.
CM Munkers reviewed the ordinances pertinent to the issues, including waste removal and franchise rights in the city.
Wayne Baron of 4R Recycling addressed the council and said he had put out cardboard recycling bins after waiting for two years for someone else to do it and, “nobody did anything.”
Baron said he then received a “cease and desist” order from the city and pulled the bins off the sites. He was also notified he needed a business license, but had yet to get one.
“I want to see cardboard recycled out of this community. Do it as a free service, and I don’t see what the problem is,” Baron said. “No money is changing hands, so I don’t know why I need a license, but if I need to buy it, I’ll buy it.”
Baron said he had talked to some business owners, and they didn’t want to pay a fee to have the cardboard picked up.
“It’s in your hands,” he told the council.
Karen Dinsmore of C&B Sanitary Service, the franchisee for waste removal in the city, said in 2007, they had granted 4R permission to collect cardboard, but Baron only did the collections for less than two years.
Even before they agreed to let Baron collect cardboard, C&B has maintained a recycling drop-off site and a co-mingle service. When 4R stopped operations, Rimrock Recycling stepped up and has continued to work with C&B.
C&B has developed a recycling program and has agreed to work with Rimrock to allow merchants to participate in an organized method for recycling corrugated cardboard.
Dinsmore said she has spoken with business owners and they would be willing to pay the nominal fee for the service. “It’s our trucks, manpower and fuel, and those things do cost money,” Dinsmore said. “There’s not enough volume (of the product) to sustain the cost.”
Becky Cunningham of Rimrock Recycling stated they have continued to accept cardboard and they processed about 100 tons last year. “We continue to improve the county’s recovery numbers,” she said.
Cunningham said the city asked Rimrock to work with C&B on the recycling issue and that is what they’ve done. She added that they have some bins and are working on grants to purchase more. “He (Baron) promised not to compete with us, but I guess he didn’t think we did a good enough job,” Cunningham said. “We’re working with Karen and Rodd (Dinsmore) to make this thing work.”
It was also pointed out that Rimrock Recycling is a non-profit, staffed primarily by volunteers, with just one paid employee.
The council agreed to leave the hearing open to receive written comments until Dec. 10 and will continue discussion at their meeting Dec. 12.
CM Munkers reported that the runway repairs at the airport had been completed and the airport was once again open.
He stated that the bids for the fire suppression system at the airport should be going out in the near future.
The city is continuing to work on a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for sidewalks in the city and work on a couple of city streets. The sidewalks would run along D and Grand streets to Slater Elementary School.
Munkers also discussed the proposal of a war memorial near the flag at the cemetery. He said the project would be a lot bigger than first anticipated, and the city will look at it again next year.
Councilor Dan Hoke added that the cost and size of the project was prohibitive, so they would discuss putting the memorial in another area of the cemetery.
In other business:
• CM Munkers announced the city had received a safety award from CityCounty Insurance Services and complimented the safety committee and the staff on their achievement;
• Councilor Terri Presley said they had a good turnout for the initial Neighborhood Watch program and would continue to meet the first Thursday of each month. “Everyone interested is welcome to attend,” Presley said;
• Councilor Hoke asked if there was any progress on an ordinance to allow four-wheelers on city streets? Munkers answered that he had a conference call with legal counsel and the city of John Day, which is looking into a similar ordinance. “There are some real hurdles to get over,” Munkers said. “We may have something to send out in a few days, but it’s still a work in progress.”
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at city hall.