City requests letters of support for airport taxiway
by Randy Parks
The Burns City Council appointed three new members at its regular meeting Wednesday, Oct. 23, filling the vacancies created by the resignations of Laura Nichols and Martin Thompson, and the passing of Bill Renwick.
The council received letters of interest from seven individuals, and the councilors and mayor each cast a ballot, voting for three of the individuals. The top three vote-getters were then appointed to serve out the terms of the councilors they were replacing.
Appointed to the council, and taking a seat after being sworn in, were Jerry Woodfin, Nona Popham and Boyce LaForest.
A public hearing was opened at 6:20 p.m. to take public input on the procedures associated with the hiring process of a city manager.
Don Munkers, city manager (CM), stated the procedures had been drafted by legal counsel to ensure they are in compliance with state laws.
There was no public input on the procedures, and the hearing was closed at 6:21 p.m. The council then voted unanimously to accept the procedures as presented.
CM Munkers reported a pre-construction meeting was held to discuss the fire suppression system at the Burns airport, and work on the system was expected to begin the following week.
He added that progress was also being made on the new SEAT (single-engine air tanker) base at the airport.
The city will be applying for a grant through Oregon Connect V to be used for a new taxiway at the airport. CM Munkers said the grant application had to be submitted by Nov. 25, and urged citizens to write letters of support for the project. “The more we get, the better off we’ll be,” he said.
Later in the meeting, the council approved Resolution 13-574, authorizing the city manager to apply for a Connect Oregon V grant for the purpose of reconstruction of the taxiway at Burns Municipal Airport.
Munkers told the council there are rules and regulations for cleaning up the city streets, alleyways and obstruction of fire hydrants, and the city needs the support of the council and the departments to enforce the regulations.
He said residents in violation of the city ordinances will be receiving notices letting them know they have 10 days to clean up the property.
If the property isn’t cleaned up, the city will do it, and the residents will receive a bill for the work.
If the residents then ignore the bill, they may spend time in jail.
Munkers said the city “has to do something” to get residents to clean up their property.
Munkers reported he had a meeting with Wayne Baron regarding a recycling franchise with the city. He said the meeting went well, and the council should be receiving a letter from Baron regarding his plans for the franchise agreement.
In closing his report, Munkers said there was additional interest in the city manager position, and he complimented the Public Works Department on completing the water main work at the cemetery, and Fire Chief Scott Williamson and the job he’s done in keeping the department’s equipment in good shape.
Public Works Director Dave Cullens added that Bob Novak helped “a bunch” with the water main project.
Councilor Terri Presley expressed her concern about vehicles racing up and down East Adams Street. She asked if the city could put up more stop signs, or possibly change the locations of existing stop signs to try and solve the problem.
She said it is a safety issue, as there are a lot of kids in the Washington Park area.
Councilor Dan Hoke said he was inclined to not put up any more stop signs, as there were quite a few in that area already.
Cullens told the council the east-west streets were set up as “through streets,” and he questioned if there was enough money in his budget to purchase more stop signs?
Mayor Craig LaFollette suggested that maybe a stronger police presence in the area at certain times of day would help.
In other business, the council:
• passed a motion to donate $100 to the Harney County Hospice Wine and Food Festival;
• agreed to hold just one meeting in November and December. The meeting dates are Nov. 13 and Dec. 18. If needed, additional meetings may be scheduled;
• Hoke said the cemetery committee had met with the local American Legion Post about putting in a veteran’s area at the cemetery. Hoke said there wasn’t time to get the project done this year, but they will put together a committee, and hope to have something prepared for a later date;
• the council thanked the four residents who had submitted letters of interest to serve on the council, but were not appointed. Presley stated there were three openings on the city planning commission, and suggested if they were interested in being involved with the city, they might look into one of those positions.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at city hall.