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Harrington City Council has much to discuss; Post & Office hosts activities

 

February 22, 2018



City Council

Wednesday, February 14, the Harrington City Council met with one council member absent. In attendance were Mayor Dillon Haas, councilmen: Peter Davenport, Jeremy Sewall, Levi Schenk and Justin Slack, town clerk Bunny Haugan, maintenance supervisor Scott McGowan, and visitors Billie Herron, Brent Wilday, Marge Womach, Brian Belsby (Belsby Engineering), Stormy Stiles, Nathan Luck and Maddie, and Cherie MacClellan.

Brian Belsby discussed Small Water System Management Plans and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation in an effort to aid the city in saving money. The Corporation would help put documents together and get funding in place and prevent the need of hiring an engineer. Belsby recommended that the Mayor and Council members avail themselves of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) workshops which are held in Moses Lake. Belsby also stated that he and the Mayor had met with the Dept. of Health for a pre-planning meeting to get direction for the Small Water System Plan. Grants for water infrastructure projects are stronger if the city has a completed plan in place.

Nathan Luck’s purpose for attending the council meeting was to determine if he would be permitted to build a pole-type garage building with heat and sewer to replace the smaller garage in back of his house. The present garage is about 17 X 28 ft.; the new building is planned to be 32 X 48 ft plus a lean-to. He presented the council with drawings and requested a variance. McGowan briefly looked at the diagrams and believed it to fit properly on the lot and away from the alley. The city will set a hearing date and notify residents within 300 ft. of the proposed building.

With the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting, in addition to the normal technical corrections for spelling or errors, Slack asked that the minutes detail be changed. After an interesting discussion, no major changes were made.

A brief maintenance report was given including the installation of depth gauges in the pond to combat corrosion and repairing a water leak near the tennis courts. Davenport asked about the garbage truck driving over man-hole covers and the potential for damage.

Mayor Haas announced to the council that the city attorney had approved his letter of appeal (of the $6,000 fine imposed by the DOE) and the council had a copy of the letter in their packet. Haas informed the council that he would hand deliver the appeal letter in person to the Pollution Control Hearing Board in Tumwater as well as the Dept. of Ecology Appeals Processing Desk in Lacey on February 15. The council asked that he notify them and the City by noon that the documents were delivered. (As might be recalled by readers of The Record, Diana Washington, compliance officer from the Dept. of Ecology, came to Harrington’s city council meeting July 12, 2017 with strong words regarding the necessity of a paper trail and compliance with the requirements on the Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) or punitive measures would be imposed.)

An email was received from Karen Allen, chair of the Harrington Historic Preservation Commission, informing the mayor and council of her and her husband’s decision to take a hiatus for a year. They cited lack of participation and that volunteers are getting weary. The mayor suggested that a council member take an active interest in the group and that the group meet quarterly. The mayor suggested that there might be inadvertent results if a hiatus is granted; the by-laws need to be studied.

Mayor Haas suggested the Employee Policy Handbook was in need of an update. The current one will be sent to AWC for review and recommendations for updates; this is a guide and backbone for city action. Second, Lincoln County Health Assessment at the court house is providing meetings and the mayor would like a council representative to be there. It covers all things that affect health. A meeting will be Thursday 1-3 p.m. Thirdly, a Hazardous Mitigation Plan is being updated by the Sheriff’s Office and he extended an invitation to Harrington to attend. McGowan, as EMT and Fire Marshall, should be sent to these meetings.

The Transportation Improvement Board program to replace the light bulbs with LED bulbs on Third street was discussed again. Grant money is available to reimburse the city crew if they decide to do the change-out. Councilman Sewall will look into the necessary bulbs and conformity to the state highway lighting requirements.

The mayor discussed the replacement of the light fixtures in the city hall and library, stating that $3,000 had been budgeted for the project. It was suggested that the crew try to change one half of the building.

Recently a meeting of Mayor Haas, Councilman Slack, Crayton Oestreich and Bill Knox of the McGregor Company occurred in which the negotiated price was $10,000 if the city chose to buy the McGregor building on city property. The money for the purchase was not calculated in the budget and the council would need to amend the comprehensive plan before the Developmental Reserve Funds could be utilized. This month’s council meeting emphasized that the potential purchase of the building would not necessarily be for the city’s use, rather that the council might lease the property or even sell the property. No environmental issues have been recorded on the property. Council voted 4-0 to authorize the mayor to negotiate to purchase the building. Councilman Cronrath, absent from the meeting, had sent comments that he wanted read regarding the purchase of the building. Instead, the mayor indicated that the council had copies of his comments.

Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition’s contract for rental of the Memorial Hall kitchen and small room for senior meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays weekly from 8:30 to 1:30 for $9 per day was authorized by the council’s vote of 4-0. Councilman Davenport stated that the cook for senior meals wants to discuss the security of the building. Mayor Haas stated that he had already authorized some locks on the cabinets that the cook wanted.

Due to the length of the average council meetings, the council felt that having a work session might help to condense the issues that are brought to the regular meeting. The primary purpose would be for sharing information and checking on the progress of tasks assigned at the regular meeting. The fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall was agreed by the council. No minutes would be taken and Councilman Davenport invited the guests to come if they would like. Two items suggested for discussion at this extra meeting were a request the council had received to close Fourth Street from Linden to Olaf and investment information for the Cemetery Endowment Fund. The meeting adjourned about 11 p.m.

Post and Office

Harrington’s newest business, The Post and Office, has become a hub of activity. It is not a normal coffee shop or lunch counter as one used to picture in one’s mind. It is a great innovative business in Lincoln County. “There is something about a school bus of kindergarteners pulling up to The Post & Office that warms my heart! This class of nine kids came in to celebrate the 100th day of school. They brought their lunch and enjoyed some hot chocolate. They were all very sweet, and it made my day!” wrote the owner Heather Slack, in her posting on Facebook. It is the place to be for any number of activities such as webinars or unique groups of like-minded people to meet to learn new skills or talents. This writer wanted to run in and drop off an item with the owner, but upon arrival, saw how busy the people seemed, so stopping was postponed. That was the evening of February 15. A “Lettering Class” had been scheduled with reserved seating only. The instructor, Emma Flhair, came from Spokane and taught hand lettering, sort of a basic calligraphy, with “no experience necessary” but a guarantee for “plenty of fun stuff to take home!” Several classes are scheduled for the month of March. Stacey Rasmussen will be teaching a class on the Basics of Instagram on March 6. Kelsey Mann will be teaching a sign class on March 14 at 3:30 and at 5:30 p.m. March 28 at 6 p.m. is Sip and Stitch, an evening of sewing and crafting in the company of others. If one does not follow The Post and Office on Facebook, much of the news of activity might be missed.

 

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