by Randy Parks
Thanks to a grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the city of Burns will make more improvements at the Burns Cemetery.
At the Burns City Council meeting Wednesday, June 24, it was announced that the city had received a $5,300 grant to go toward creating a burial information center in the chapel at the cemetery. The match amount for the city is $7,300, which includes volunteer and employee time, brings the total cost of the project to $12,600.
Dick Day, a member of the cemetery committee, told the council the chapel will be repainted and maps, showing the sections and grave locations in the cemetery, will be placed inside. He added that city hall will also have a map of the cemetery and index so if someone comes in looking for information, city hall staff can provide it in an efficient manner.
Councilor Dan Hoke noted that Lois Taylor had spent numerous hours making sure grave locations were correct and creating a data base, and thanked her and the others for their work on the project.
Day, Taylor, Jackie Caizza and Jan Cupernall worked on the specifics and submitted the grant request to the state.
City Manager (CM) Dauna Wensenk reported they had received eight applications for the public works director position and there were six candidates that she would like to be interviewed for the position.
The council discussed possible dates to conduct interviews and decided to hold them Wednesday, July 8, beginning at 9 a.m.
Deputy Tax Collector Karen Zabala was present to discuss with the council the foreclosure process regarding four properties in the city that had been designated as nuisances and dangerous buildings.
Zabala explained the redemption process and time lines for each location and identified the Oregon statutes that apply to the proceedings.
Later in the meeting, the council approved Resolution No. 15-608 ordering the nuisance at 730 South Egan to be abated, and the dangerous building at the same location to be removed.
CM Wensenk stated the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had contacted the city and had recognized they had underpaid the city $14,267.23 in rental payments from March 1, 2006, to Feb. 29, 2016 for the BLM facility at the Burns Municipal Airport. She explained their lease year begins in March and they will continue to the city the same amount they are currently paying through February 2016. After that date, the adjusted rental amounts will go into effect and will be paid on an annual basis.
Regarding the automated irrigation system at Triangle Park, CM Wensenk stated the city received one bid for the project. She stated there are only two licensed landscape companies in Harney County, and the bid received was from Paul Everett Bradley — Landscape Services in the amount of $18,499.
The council voted unanimously to accept the bid.
Harney County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chelsea Harrison told the council the Burns Paiute Tribe had established a strategic plan, and the plan included liquidating merchandise stored in the tribe’s building on North Broadway.
Harrison asked the council for permission to close off A Street next to the building July 10-11 so the merchandise can be moved into the street for the sale.
The council approved the request.
The council approved Resolution No. 15-605, allowing the city to apply for $50,000 from the state of Oregon to be used for street repair.
The work includes a chip sealing project on West Pierce Street and crack sealing Railroad and South Egan avenues.
The council approved Resolution No. 15-606, a resolution adopting the budget in the amount of $6,875,030, making appropriations and imposing and categorizing taxes.
The council also approved Resolution No. 15-607, setting the rates for water and sewer services provided by the city, pursuant to the water and sewer ordinance.
Mayor Craig LaFollette stated the city has a system in place that includes a table of scheduled rates created to keep the water and sewer fund solvent.
The resolution includes a 1 percent increase to water rates and a 3 percent increase to sewer rates.
In other business:
• the council approved an application from Burns Elks Lodge No. 1680 to hold a street dance, with beer garden, from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 4;
• the council reviewed a liquor license application from Jeff Evans of the Beer and Smoke Shop at 493 South Kearney. Mayor LaFollette said a letter from Police Chief Newt Skunkcap accompanied the application, and Skunkcap recommended denying the application.
During a discussion, Skunkcap stated Evans wasn’t truthful on some questions he answered during the process.
It was pointed out that even of the city denied the application, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission could still grant a license.
Councilor Hoke determined that alcohol wasn’t sold on the premises before Evans bought the business, so if the problems were taken care, Evans could then re-apply.
“I just want to give him a chance,” Hoke said.
The council voted to deny the application;
• Harrison reported the Seven Wonders of Harney County ad was on the back cover of the June issue of the Cascade A&E magazine, and presented a copy to each councilor.
She said that arts and entertainment have been in the top five of searches on the chamber’s website for the past two years, and the magazine is a great way to promote the local events in Central Oregon.
She also reminded those in attendance of the activities planned for the Fourth of July;
• CM Wensenk recommended that Dawn Crafts be appointed to the position of city clerk on July 1, and she hoped to have the position of accounts receivable/payroll clerk filled by Aug. 1;
• The council also reviewed a request for refueling and de-icing fees at the airport from Airport Manager Jeff Cotton.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, at city hall.