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Harrington news

Upcoming artistic events, city council issues discussed in three-hour meeting

 

April 19, 2018



Breakfast with Mayor Haas

Four times this year, citizens are offered an opportunity to have not only a free breakfast but also free time with Haas to ask questions and receive explanations for why our town is as it is and why it functions as it does. Come join others who are eager for good food at 8 a.m. at the Senior Meals room on Saturday, April 21. Those who turned out last time were pleased to hear some good dialogue.

HOHS

The members of the Harrington Opera House Society met April 9 in the Art Room, with Mark and Sheryl Stedman, Ed and Bunny Haugan, Billie and Gordon Herron, Linda Wagner, Marge Womach, Karen Robertson and Carol present. The meeting lasted just over one hour. Payment of the Society’s membership dues to KSPS was approved.

Arrangements will be made by Mark Stedman for the restroom molding to be ordered and to find someone willing to do the work. An overview was given of the present state of the Rummage room with the majority of material boxed, or stacked, and ready to be moved, with most of the retainable goods for the next sale being boxed and stored. Concerns continue to be expressed regarding the large Avista bill with no logical reason for the increase in it. Robertson expressed concerns that the old staircase have at least one reliable hand rail in case needed for emergency exit. The general consensus was that the Panther picture on the wall be donated to the Booster Club for their upcoming sale.

A brief recap of the Seattle Shakespeare Co. event was given with the feeling that the community expressed good positive feedback about the presentation as well as appreciating the attendance of the school at the event. April 21 will be a private bridal shower in the Art Room. The next event is Jim Kershner with a lecture on Chief Moses on Saturday, May 5, at 1 p.m. It is anticipated to run about one and one half hours. Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m. will be the piano recital. For Cruizin’ Harrington on May 19, Saturday, there will be a quilt show and rummage sale. Music could be arranged for periods of the day. On Friday, June 15, at 7 p.m., will be the performance of Nu-Blu (bluegrass) with tickets anticipated at $15. Saturday, June 30 will be the Panhandle Polecats (bluegrass). Other performances are scheduled for the fall. Members were advised that HOHS is responsible for the Lions Club Dinner on May 2. A menu was suggested. It was also announced that the Chamber is considering the Opera House Auditorium for the Christmas Bazaar and Santa pictures.

City Council

Harrington City Council met April 11 for a three-hour session with maintenance supervisor Scott McGowan; clerk Bunny Haugan; mayor Dillon Haas; council members Jeremy Sewall, Peter Davenport, Justin Slack, Mike Cronrath and Levi Schenk; visitors Marge Womach, Brent Wilday and Cherie MacClellan, as well as six students from Michael Cronrath’s class John Tanke, Colton Jacobson, Ben Hguyen, Juul Parys, Alex Soliday and Grace Daniels. The students received community service hours for their attendance.

A lengthy discussion was held regarding the vacant lot project on the corner of Willis and Third, which is city-owned property. Volunteers and organizations are involved in improving the property and have formed a committee. Two grants of up to $15,000 are available through Empire Health for which the committee would like to apply: Rural Aging and Responsive Grant for safety concerns or recreation. The committee presented a draft design for the council meeting. A local former graduate, Judy Mielke, has volunteered her services to produce a rendering of a landscape she will be designing. Her design will focus on low maintenance, including limited need for watering. Concern has been raised regarding the shared fire wall on the south side of the lot, for which it was determined that the building owner owns the south ½ of the fire wall and the city owns the exposed north ½ of the fire wall. The wall needs attention and could be addressed by one of the grants. Discussion was held regarding in-kind hours as well as matching funds from the city toward the grant. The mayor was cautious about committing a specific dollar amount to the project. The only decision made regarding the vacant lot at this time was the unanimous vote by the council for the mayor to proceed to apply for the Empire Health grants to keep the project moving forward. During the previous week, McGowan had dug five test holes, two feet deep, to obtain soil samples for testing. Those most active on the committee are Karen Allen, Tim Tipton and Dillon Haas.

The mayor and a committee reviewed the qualifications of seven engineering firms of which four were selected for interviews. Issues important to the mayor were: history of work with small cities, ability to get grants for small cities, history of work with soil types as compared to our soil, their ability to foresee challenges for small cities and learning from their mistakes. The four were James A. Sewall, Century West, Belsby and TD&H. The council discussed the prior experiences they could recall with each of those interviewed and reviewed their responses to the questionnaires. A major issue raised was the ability of those involved to maintain adequate communication. Mention was made of projects within the county by some of these companies. The council decided to split the duties, awarding the contract to James A Sewall for work at the Waste Water Treatment Plant with the focus on inflow, ground water infiltration and the collection system. The second selection was to TD&H for the services for water, streets and sewer lines. These contracts are for the duration of three years.

The long-awaited appointment of an enforcement officer has occurred although the title has changed a bit. The mayor announced his appointment of Michelle Quiggly as his choice for code enforcement officer. He then shared a document he had prepared outlining his description of the position, duties and hours. The position would be to maintain records of grievances, violations of ordinances, correspondence between the city and citizenry and court proceeding records. Councilman Davenport recognized that the document the Mayor prepared was inadequate to give concrete directions to an employee and motioned to table this appointment. Further discussion made it evident that the mayor had failed to discuss the topic with the maintenance supervisor or city clerk in regards to how the process would work, what the actual duties would be and how this appointment would aid in keeping peace in the community. Davenport’s motion failed for lack of a second. Councilman Cronrath spoke favorably of Quiggly’s teaching and administrative skills, and her capacity to maintain farm ledgers. It was also stated that she is currently a part time teacher, she teaches sign language and is well traveled. The question was raised as to where she is living, and that added more confusion. Some guessed locally on the farm, and another stated that she is presently in Moses Lake. A motion made by Slack and seconded by Schenk passed 4-1, with Davenport insisting that his vote against the motion be made with his name attached in the minutes. The mayor’s original document allowed for hourly wages but the council voted for a monthly salary of $250 for variable and limited hours.

Announcement was made for a public hearing to amend a section of the comprehensive plan and a second public hearing prior to applying for a Community Development Block Grant. The meeting will occur at the regular council meeting on May 9, 2018.

The city is actively seeking a seasonal full time employee for work in the cemetery and city park from May 1 to Sept. 28.

The city council continues to await the outcome of the appeals process regarding the $6,000 fine imposed by the Department of Ecology for the Mayor’s failure to turn in the paperwork properly for September, October and November of 2017. The mayor said he had contacted Phyllis Barney, Assistant Attorney General, Ecology Division, submitting to her six optional dates for setting up a settlement discussion in the appeal of the penalty issued. As of this council meeting, he had not heard a reply as to when this meeting date would be. Councilman Davenport questioned whether Ecology would be responsible for the expense to the city if they do not impose a fine, his thinking being that Ecology has wasted a lot of the city’s time and money on this appeals process.

The maintenance report covered the typical water leaks and sewer issues for the month, preparation of the mower for the cutting season and work on the Vactor truck. Discussion was held regarding the need to separate the sewer/water service at 3 S 3rd from 7 S 3rd. This longstanding problem needs to be fixed as neither building will sell with the issue continuing and neither property is paying for city services. McGowan reported that the water table was up.

The McGregor building purchase cannot be made until the council amends the Capital Improvement Plan, which is scheduled for next month’s meeting. The Harrington Historical Preservation Commission has rescinded its motion to disband for the year and will continue its work with the PDA on the vacant city lot project.

Councilman Slack attended a meeting in Moses Lake regarding Tools for Funding Future Infrastructure Projects with nine agencies presenting the following topics: value planning and cost effectiveness, effective and affordable services, asset management and rate setting. He continues to encourage his fellow council members to attend these valuable meetings. The Harrington broadband project will be highlighted at the AWC Small Cities Connection Conference on May 31, 2018.

 

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