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Harrington news

Opera House Society meets, smart phone class offered

 

January 18, 2018



Opera House Society

The Harrington Opera House Society met January 8, with Pres. Linda Wagner, Carol, Ed and Bunny Haugan, Mark and Sheryl Stedman, Cherie MacClellan, Karen Robertson, Gordon and Billie Herron and Heather Slack present. Sensors have been installed, but a recently purchased door sweep still needs to be installed. WiFi was installed and is now available for use at meetings held in the Art Room. Purchase of a computer has not received good support. Discussion was held regarding heat and adequate lighting for the rummage room, a project which will wait for warmer weather.

The young student who was granted a scholarship for music lessons attended this week. Billie Herron offered to investigate a grant opportunity from US Bank. Carol announced a rummage sale for Saturday, February 10, in the Art Room only, offering primarily crystal, jewelry, books and gift items. It was suggested that other organizations be invited to join in on that date with their plans.

Reports by officers and committees were turned in this week and the Society’s newsletter will be out in February. Upcoming events include Kevin Hekmatpanah on March 2 at 7 p.m. Last year he also performed. He is a cellist who has performed extensively with symphony and philharmonic orchestras all over the world. His accompanist this year will be Paulina Zamora, a Chilean-American pianist who also performs on the international stage. Artist Nona Hengen expressed a desire to come in the spring to display her paintings and tell stories, although a date has yet to be confirmed.

Class offered with RSVP

A two-hour class is being offered by Stacey Rasmussen entitled “Android & I-phone: Tips and Tricks, Basic to Tweets.” The class will be February 1, from 3:30 to 5:30 and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Art Room of the Opera House with the newly connected WiFi. A call to Linda at 253-4719 will ensure a place at the table and a suggested donation of $10 would help the effort.

City Council

The Harrington City Council met January 10 at 7:30 p.m. with the following present: Mayor Dillon Haas, Councilmen Mike Cronrath, Peter Davenport, Jeremy Sewall, Levi Schenk, and Justin Slack, City Clerk Bunny Haugan, Maintenance Supervisor Scott McGowan, and visitors Brian Belsby, Crayton Oestreich, Marge Womach, Cherie MacClellan and Cade Clarke.

Oath of office was recited by Jeremy Sewall as the newest member of the city council, and by Mike Cronrath re-elected to the council following his 18th year.

Representing Belsby Engineering, Brian Belsby came to the council to inform them that their firm is interested in helping our city secure grants, by preparing applications and getting them submitted to meet deadlines for street or water projects. He stated that they are aware that Harrington recently qualified as a low-to-moderate income town and could now apply for Community Development Block Grant money for infrastructure projects. He was offered the letter from Margie Hall regarding our recent change of status, which he was eager to see. Time seemed of the essence in order to meet grant deadlines; the city will be moving forward as soon as possible for qualifications from engineering firms and start an interview process. Mayor Hass informed the council that Alan Gay in January of 2016 as engineer had itemized potential city needs.

Crayton Oestreich came to the council to present three issues of concern to him and in particular to the Lions Club: city hall basement, storage of the Lions Club flags and the presence of unsightly abandoned vehicles and assorted junk lining the streets of Harrington. He focused his attention on the condition of the city hall basement and his displeasure with it, since the Lions Club has been storing their Christmas street decorations as well as the numerous flags used at the cemetery during the holidays. As a representative of the Lions, Oestreich offered to eliminate the contents of the basement and haul it off in big trucks. Although Councilman Slack and Mayor Haas are also Lions, McGowan and the council nevertheless informed Oestreich that the city cannot simply haul items off to the dump. The city must follow legal specifications for keeping city records and discarding surplus items. Oestreich was insistent that it could be better organized until the process was begun for getting rid of the surplus items; he was unaware that the council has been inventorying its surplus items for that process. After hearing Oestreich’s criticisms, the council said the city would handle the project without community assistance.

The maintenance report consisted primarily of reviewing work done due to winter conditions, e.g., sanding and scraping ice and repairing stop signs that had been removed. McGowan is continuing to make progress toward his Level 2 certification, having turned in paperwork with the hope that the process will be completed by the end of April. No date has been set for testing.

Rick Becker, who did not file to remain on the council, has been mayor pro-tem for the previous several years. Mike Cronrath nominated Justin Slack for the position, and Peter Davenport nominated Cronrath, who declined due to potential conflict of interest because his wife serves as the elected city treasurer. Slack was approved as mayor pro-tem. Mayor Haas announced that he would be taking some time off in June of this year.

Haas informed the council that he had not finalized the contract for municipal solid waste disposal with Sunshine Disposal. The city attorney is now reviewing it. Haas said there may be a special meeting to approve and sign the contract when completed.

The mayor said he had lined up a professional “helper” for plan testing, permit updating and a M&O update plan. The person is a past DOE employee recommended by the DOE for this purpose.

The Growth Management Plan will need updates in two years. The last plan was completed in 2011. A grant for $2,500 may be available, which Councilman Slack offered to work on.

A long discussion ensued regarding the future of the McGregor building on city property. Prior to the meeting, the mayor had McGowan prepare a cost estimate for getting the building upgraded and moving the city shop to that location (insulation, trim and furnace, to mention a few needed items). He said heating of the maintenance office in the old building runs $300 a month, since the entire building is heated. The mayor has been in touch with the city attorney about purchasing the building and the types of funding that the city is allowed to use for the purchase of real estate. Cronrath expressed concern over the unexpected incidental costs that usually occur. The council was not interested in paying the current full $20,000 purchase price, but a lower price might be considered.

Oestreich shared with the council that he had approached the McGregors on behalf of the Lions, stating that they want to buy the building and resell it to the city in exchange for use of two bays of the old fire hall building on Main Street, currently used as part of the city shop which would need to be updated to make them mouse proof and water proof. Haas stated that the building and property had been rented for $1,250 per year. Little discussion was held regarding the property’s value as a site for promoting a business. The mayor had been instructed by the council to negotiate with McGregor about the building after the December meeting, but this did not occur. Oestreich intends to continue negotiating with McGregor, and the council made no decision.

Ordinance 496 (adjusted 2017 budget) as presented by the city attorney was approved unanimously.

A short discussion was again held regarding an enforcement officer to deal with failures to comply with ordinances, junk cars, weeds, fire hazards, dogs, etc. The mayor stated that he is continuing to put together the legal papers which will allow the court to respond if citations are filed against citizens. He also stated that he has selected a person for the position, but the council was unaware and the information was not disclosed at this meeting. The mayor mentioned he wants to have a community clean-up day to move out appliances and furniture that seem to become yard atrocities.

The street lighting project which was funded by the Dept. of Transportation in connection with Avista has not been done. Haas will contact the company originally contacted to do this. Several of the lights on Third Street are out, and McGowan offered to use their crew and equipment to replace the burned out bulbs with LEDs.

Cherie MacClellan came to promote a “Breakfast with the Mayor” event scheduled for January 20, at 8 a.m. in the Memorial Hall. Susan Harding is cooking for the event, which is an opportunity for citizens to bring their questions, concerns and appetite and get to know Mayor Dillon Haas, while enjoying a free breakfast.

Discussion was held regarding the need to re-invest the money in Cemetery Endowment Fund, since several CDs had come due. The council made recommendations for the treasurer.

 

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