The Odessa Record -

Harrington news

Gear-up for holidays; council may up sewer rates


November 16, 2017

--Photo courtesy of Karen Robertson.

No Phantom of the Opera in the bowels of the Harrington O

Opera House Society

On November 6, the Harrington Opera House Society met in the Art Room with Ed and Bunny Haugan, Billie and Gordon Herron, Carol, Linda Wagner, Marge Womach, Sheryl Stedman and Karen Robertson present. The Building Committee reported on progress on current projects, including labels for the water lines, the potential use of thermo-imaging, railings placed at the side stairs to the stage, sealing of the Art Room door and ordering of another latch for the lobby door. With more time now available, a call will be placed regarding Wi-Fi access using the grant money from US Bank. Kysar Mechanical has requested a catwalk for access to the furnace, which is located above the stage. This in turn led to mention of the need for extra light bars in the rafters.

Prior events were reviewed. All seemed pleased with the 25th Anniversary Event of Dr. Jody Graves at the piano. The Society would enjoy having her return if details could be worked out. The community forum held in the corner of the auditorium was deemed successful, noting that the next meeting would be organized by the school. The UFO events continue to draw a good crowd, and it is anticipated that Peter Davenport will continue to bring these events to us.

The community Thanksgiving service, organized by the Harrington Ministerial Association will be held November 19, beginning at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Opera House.

The annual appearance of Santa at the Opera House will be on December 2, with arrival provided by the fire department at 10 a.m. Santa's chair will be waiting near the fireplace where children can come and visit with him in person and make their requests known. Rumor has it that Santa's Elf will be here handing out bags that will be prepared by the Chamber. Professional photos will be taken and tours of the Opera House will be available. The Opera House will also be having its rummage sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Society received a request for costume storage space from Christian Heritage School. A contract will be drawn up and a means of separating the costumes acquired from the former K/P Productions of Harrington and those to be brought in from the school by Knute Hernas will be devised.

The Society meets next on December 4 at 7 p.m. in the Art Room.

Harrington City Council

The Harrington City Council met October 8 at 7:30 p.m. with all members present (Cronrath, Becker, Slack, Schenk and Davenport), as well as Mayor Haas, clerk Bunny Haugan, maintenance supervisor Scott McGowan, Jerry and Karen Allen, Margie Hall (Lincoln Co. EDC), Gordon and Billie Herron, Marge Womach, Cherie MacClellan and Pastor Cade Clarke.

Hall reported that the income survey process went well. There were two mailings and two door-to-door campaigns to get responses, with a total of 76 percent of the citizens responding and 52.6 percent falling into the low-to-moderate range of income. For those who returned surveys, the median income was about $46,000. Harrington has reached its goal and is now eligible for government-based Community Development Block Grants.

A letter to specific landowners with vacant buildings was sent out addressing a potential rate increase for sewer connections which was a reduced rate due to inactivity and in consideration of the need for the buildings to be preserved. In response to the letters, the Herrons and Allens came to the meeting for additional information. The Herrons asked what the city was actually proposing. The mayor was vague, stating that the proposal had not yet been written, but he did address the varying rates for current-use buildings and vacant buildings. He also addressed a discrepancy in the billing for the past three years, in that active sewer usage buildings were being charged an extra $3 fee per month to help repay a city loan for the sewer account, which the citizens had been guaranteed would be removed after the three years, at which time the loan would be paid off. That time is approaching. Non-users were not charged that fee. If the vacant buildings were charged the standard fee for their connection to the city sewer, their bills would be raised.

The mayor stated that there are eight commercial buildings and 15 residences that are vacant. The fees need to be based on the concept of connectivity to the system, and each unit needs to contribute to the sewer funds for upkeep. He said commercial buildings are considered higher Equivalent Residential Units than residential buildings. The school is 17, the Landmark Apartments are six, the golf course is two and the Lincoln Hotel is one until it opens. The mayor stated that no decision would be made until another meeting is held on Nov 16 at 7:30 p.m., when he will share the amounts proposed.

Following this public-comment section of the agenda, the Allens, Herrons and Hall left the meeting. Near the conclusion of the meeting, "city service rate feedback" was discussed in which the council members were more definite about their preference for removing the "vacant" rate, with the exception of Davenport. Additionally, they discussed that the Carrot Patch building and Cafe share a sewer line which needs to be separated.

Mayor Haas and Scott McGowan gave the maintenance report. McGowan said the class he took for raising his classification for work on the sewer treatment plant went well and that after more study he will sign up for the test. He said the city is not quite prepared for winter to set in. The council recommended that he and Keith do a dry-run with the snow plow, chart it or map it, to reduce possible damages. The City received six comments on the risk management survey from the Association of Washington Cities, areas to consider for changes. Specifically, they did not like the playground equipment at the park or the barbecue pit. A sanitation survey was also completed in which there was concern over the property near the city well, and the Department of Health made recommendations.

The McGregor building on city property was discussed once again. Council members were given a handout listing pros and cons. If the city does not want the building, there will be a cost for its removal.

Haas said that the insurance obtained through the Association of Washington Cities for full-time employees has changed and is worse than before; both costs and benefits are less.

Issues regarding budget impacts included marijuana tax, increase on property evaluation in Harrington and creating a policy for buying products locally, from hardware supplies to food items.

Haas announced that he intends to begin personnel evaluations and that he is looking for someone to review his performance as mayor. He is approaching the end of his second year in office.

Pastor Cade Clarke, on behalf of the Harrington Ministerial Association, announced that the Harrington Thanksgiving church service would be held Sunday, November 19, at the Harrington Opera House at 6 p.m. The Food Bank is also requesting financial support for large quantities of staples for dispersing during the Thanksgiving to Christmas season. Separately, he mentioned that Jen Mallery is in charge of the community dinner on November 23 at the school.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019