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Council agrees on salaries, hears reports on projects; history of Newland Bros.

 
Series: Harrington News | Story 17

February 21, 2019



City Council

The Harrington City Council met February 13 at city hall with Mayor Justin Slack, Clerk Bunny Haugan, council members Peter Davenport, Cherie MacClellan, Tim Tipton, Levi Schenk and Nathan Luck present, along with maintenance supervisor Scott McGowan and one visitor Jess Silhan.

Last month Nathan Luck and Cherie MacClellan were placed on a committee to gather information on the various options the city has regarding the McGregor building on city property across SR 28 from the city lagoons. It was quickly determined that the city does not want to sell the building and have it removed from the property or sell the property with the building for a one-time financial benefit. This left two remaining options: Lease the property or utilize the property for its own purposes as a city shop for the maintenance department. Discussion was held regarding potential requirements for upgrading and replacement of equipment in the building which might amount to as much as $10,000. An advertisement seeking interest in leasing the building and property will now be placed to allow the council more information to determine the best use possible for the city’s asset.

The progress the council made on getting through its agenda slowed to a halt with the discussion of changing the mayor’s salary, a change which would not take effect until after the next term begins in 2020. The Lincoln County Auditor charges a filing fee based upon the salary of the position for which they are applying, hence the need for the council to address this issue in a timely manner. This long discussion began with acknowledgment that the present mayor does not take the insurance benefit valued at $600 per month and consequently is receiving the current level of $214 per month, less than minimum wage for the average 10 hours per week that he works. A list of salaries for the position of mayor in other small cities was presented to the council, which voted to increase the mayor’s salary to $600 per month, effective following the next election and in January 2020. Discussion was also held regarding city council members receiving a salary. The council voted unanimously to not accept salaries, as has been the custom for many years. The present council expressed sentiments that they did not sign up for wages but signed up to be people willing to help the town.

Council discussed possible alternatives of how city water and waste-water samples are conveyed to the respective laboratories where they are tested. It was pointed out that any alternative to the present system of conveyance of samples would have to address the issue of chain-of-custody.

Council revisited the issue of the best avenue for maintenance of the city cemetery. Council members who had contacted various businesses as prospective contractors for the cemetery work reported their findings. No bids were placed by a Harrington business. Two Spokane companies showed an interest but declined due to the distance. The city plans to contract out the cemetery work for at least one calendar year to test the effectiveness of contracting, over having city employees do the work. A contract will be written for the closest contractor available, which is MKB out of Davenport.

Councilman Tipton reported to the council the latest developments in the improvement of the city’s vacant lot at the corner of Willis and 3rd. He reported on the merits of repairing a (city-owned) brick wall that is located on the south side of the lot, abutting the old Newland Building, most recently operated by Floyds as Harrington Machinery. The wall needs repairing prior to the lot project’s development due to safety concerns. Two techniques for restoring the wall include spraying the wall with “shot-crete” or by replacing missing bricks through a “tuck point” restoration to the wall’s original condition. Council members expressed a preference for the “tuck point” techniques, even though it would be more expensive.

Mayor Slack presented a plan for creating committees to streamline council meetings. Creating committees to address specific issues that come before the assembled council would help in doing legwork and lightening the work load on the mayor, thus reducing the length of time that issues needed to be discussed in a formal council setting. Several council members reacted favorably to the plan, and the mayor will address the issue next month with more details.

The primary city computer is on its last legs but is being replaced. Regarding the potential part-time clerk position, the budget has provided for the following hours for the clerk trainee: Second quarter 2019, 15 hours/week; third quarter 2019, 20 hours/week; fourth quarter 2019, 40 hours per week. Council was adjourned before 11 p.m.

Newland Bros.

The Newland Brothers store was built in October 1903 as a one-story building, 85 x 100 feet.

“Here one finds everything in shelf and heavy hardware, building supplies, Charter Oak stoves, guns and ammunition, etc. The stock of furniture is model and offers many different patterns to select from, while in implements such well known makes as the Studebaker wagons and carriages, Buffalo Pitts threshers and engines and the Oliver plows are to be secured at this store. They also have a tin shop in connection and do all kinds of work in this line as well as plumbing, etc. All goods are sold on their quality and at prices that meet all competition. When you need anything in this line call and inspect their stock and let them make you a price. Newland Brothers deserve their large trade and no firm has more interest in the growth and development of Harrington.” (Citizen: 1-22-1904)

It housed the business of Thompson & Son from 1906 to 1919 and Richardson-Monks from 1919 to 1928. The city-owned wall that abuts the old Newland Bros. building was the exterior wall of the Adams-Mitchum building. During the 1980s both buildings were owned by Bill Floyd, and Floyd had the Adams-Mitchum building razed in 1986 and gifted the lot to the city in October of 2011.

 

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