Police department obtains overtime grant
by Steve Howe
The Hines Common Council met for a public land use hearing at its regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday, April 28. The land use hearing on Ordinance 309 (a flood damage prevention ordinance, with included zoning changes) was called to order first to gather public input and provide an opportunity for discussion.
Ordinance 309 had been discussed at previous meetings, but councilors elected to delay a vote in order to have more time for review. City Administrator Joan Davies explained at the regular meeting of the Hines Common Council on April 14 that all cities are now being required to pass flood ordinances in order to qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program, and that the ordinance had been reviewed by a citizen committee and was recommended for approval by the Hines Planning Commission.
At the April 28 public hearing, Davies reiterated that the ordinance establishes processes for flood damage prevention, and changes single-family residential zoning for six privately-owned properties, in cooperation with the property owners.
One person in attendance asked if her property was in the flood zone. Davies explained that the ordinance does not change any flood zoning designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and that a flood zone map could be obtained from the Harney County Planning Commission.
As there were no further comments or discussion, and no written testimony had been received, the public hearing was closed. Councilor Hilda Allison moved to approve the ordinance, and it was seconded by Councilor Ron Williams. The motion carried with five “ayes,” and Councilor Loren Emang not voting.
Ordinance 310, an amendment to the cottage development ordinance for the West Ridge II housing development, was also passed. The amendment clarifies the original intent of the planning commission, which was to require that a minimum of four cottages be built only when the development was first established, not each time a new cottage is proposed. Builders Pat Thompson and Ron Schirm were proposing to build two new cottages, and were in attendance to answer any questions.
Following the passage of the ordinance, Mayor Nikki Morgan advised the council that the clarification of the ordinance had caused a delay for the builders, and that they had requested a waiver of the 30-day waiting period normally required. Emang moved to waive the waiting period, it was seconded by Williams, and the motion carried unanimously.
Hines Police Chief Ryan DeLange told the council that he obtained a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) in the amount of $3,000 to pay for police overtime in writing traffic citations for speeding. Davies pointed out that the hours can’t be worked until after July 1 (the start of the fiscal year), because there is no revenue or expenditure line specifically for speeding citation overtime, and the grant comes with a $750 matching requirement. DeLange said they will have no problem satisfying the match with in-kind work.
In other news, DeLange reported that his department received a number of theft calls recently, and there continues to be a problem with methamphetamine and heroin sales and usage in both Hines and Burns. He said the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently busted an exchange of one pound of methamphetamine behind a local gas station.
DeLange said he received a lot of information regarding the implementation of Measure 91 (allowing for the personal use and possession of recreational marijuana) at the recent Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference, but said there is a great deal of confusion surrounding it, as changes keep being made.
In unfinished business, the topic of utility rates was addressed. Morgan asked if there were any comments about the water base rate, and asked if the water rates committee met. Emang reported that it had, and they would meet again the following day. He said they are looking into flow rates and line sizes to help determine a billing scale. The committee is made up of Councilor Rod Bennett, Councilor Dick Baird, and Hines residents Darrel Smith and Bob Daniel, with Superintendent of Public Works Pedro Zabala participating.
In her regular report, Davies said she attended the last Harney County Air Quality Task Force meeting for the season. It will reconvene in September, and it aims to focus on air quality education at schools.
Davies said she also appeared before the Harney County Budget Committee to request $15,000 for the city’s annual budget, which is $5,000 more than the county usually contributes. The money would go to the city’s street fund. Committee members said they would advise her of a decision when they complete their own budget.
Davies advised the council that the cans and bottles fund for Hines Park was at $4,529.52 for the fiscal year.
Harney County Chamber of Commerce Director Chelsea Harrison was present to report on the free disposal day held at C&B Sanitary April 18. She said it was very successful, with a total of 48 loads dumped. She added that they may schedule it later in the year next year, however, to increase participation.
Harrison also reported on the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival in Honor of John Scharff. She said attendance was slightly down from last year, but participants booked more tours on average, which increased the time they spent in the county. She said the new owl and sage grouse tours were successful, and the youth art auction raised $900 for next year’s youth art program.
She said that six, 12-foot banners promoting the festival that were placed along Highway 20 at the Valley Golf Club disappeared, and they have not been recovered.
In other business, the council:
• approved business licenses for Hannaford Creations and Paul Everett Bradley Landscape Services;
• approved a donation of up to $250 each from the Hines Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) and Hines Police Department to help pay for a chaplain training program for volunteer firefighter Bob Yunker at the Police/Firefighter Chaplaincy Academy in Seattle, Wash., May 16-23;
• approved a donation of $100 to the Burns High School senior class graduation party;
• discussed the utility worker job opening. Morgan said 14 applicants were interviewed, and that they are not ready to hire anyone yet, as background checks are still in progress;
• approved accounts payable for April 28 in the amount of $55,383.09.
The next meeting of the Hines Common Council will be held Tuesday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Hines City Hall.