The Odessa Record -

By Marjorie Womach
Special to The Record 

Harrington News


Last updated 6/15/2021 at 11:50am

HARRINGTON – Harrington City Council met in regular session at city hall on June 9 at 7 p.m. Council members present were David Buddrius, Peter Davenport, Justin Slack, Stephen Hardy and Levi Schenk. The Zoom line was live, and the entire meeting was streamed on YouTube. Mayor Luck led the meeting, which was attended by the two clerks, Cynthia Silhan and Jere Lee with two visitors, Denisa Holling and Jess Silhan. An additional visitor, Cherie MacClellan, arrived late in the meeting to present information on the vendor situation for the Country Vintage Fair on June 26. Approval of bills was delayed, since former Clerk Janice Cepeda had removed the identification for the names on the payroll vouchers and had to be contacted to obtain names to match the checks (which were supplied by meeting’s end).

Mayor Luck introduced the newly hired city clerk Jere Lee. The mayor reported that a job offer for the maintenance position in the Public Works Dept. has been accepted, with a start date of June 21. The city had been interested in obtaining a specific pickup truck but found that it had been sold the day before the mayor placed his call to obtain it. Council member Slack will not be on the council next year and consequently asked to be removed from the budget committee to allow someone else on the council to work on it before going into the new budget year. There have been no offers for the fire truck that the city has for sale. Luck made a few comments regarding credit card policy, stating that we need a policy in place, however no action was taken and no potential policy was proposed. Councilman Buddrius reported to the mayor that the Town of Wilbur has junk vehicle policies, which he had sent to the other council members for comparison.

Buddrius brought up several concerns regarding the cemetery. Several people had asked him about the cemetery directory being dilapidated. Another concern was that tombstones that have shifted appear as though they were moved by machinery. It was stated that the way it is being mowed, it is left too long and does not look clean and crisp as it used to. Someone noted that the section east of the Catholic section is not getting adequate watering. Mayor Luck stated that the process to map the cemetery electronically is continuing. Slack said the cemetery records are probably 95 percent accurate, although he did not stipulate whether he referred only to the cemetery directory or meant the total records pertaining to the cemetery.

The recent loss of US Bank in Harrington has created several concerns for the city, which resulted in a lengthy discussion, noting that August 17 is the final day for any transaction with US Bank in Harrington. Council stated that the Harrington Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to see whether a credit union is interested in buying or renting the bank building, noting that US Bank owns the building. Slack recommended waiting until Aug. 17 to see if any contacts work out first. The city's main problem presently is that the city must maintain a chain of custody of its bank deposits by a city employee in order to make deposits in the Davenport branch of US Bank. Slack said that, although the future of banking is on-line, "You cannot deposit coins on-line." Those who deliver the city's deposit to the bank would need to submit a mileage form if they want reimbursement for travel.

Council discussed a request by a citizen living on South Second to have a speed bump placed to slow down the local traffic to the golf club. Council looked at increasing signage rather than putting in a speed bump, which would hamper city operations and snow plows. No action was taken.

A letter from Steve Marsh asking for the council to make a motion to award the contract for the Adams Street project to the lowest responsive bidder contingent upon TD&H recommendations and TIB approval. Council voted 5-0 and passed the motion, opening the way for bids to begin.

Council had a brief discussion of changing council meetings to twice monthly from August through the end of the year. Luck said that lots of things slid by when the city was busy and now with the budget work and new personnel, it seemed useful to meet more often and avoid longer meetings. The motion to meet twice a month passed with a 4-1 vote.

Mayor Luck announced that the city received an email from the Office of Financial Management announcing that Harrington has been allotted money from the American Rescue Plan Act in the amount of two payments of equal amounts if $58,342 if the paperwork is submitted by June 18. Councilman Slack clarified that the amount was $116,000 for the two years 2021 and 2022. Luck acknowledged that this was correct. (The American Rescue Plan Act 2021 is designed to facilitate the U.S.'s recovery from the economic and health effects of the Covid-19 with a wide range of directions that the money can be channeled. Parameters of its use are controlled, but not the specifics.)

Councilman Buddrius asked for discussion on the issues of safety and liability regarding the Chamber-sponsored Harrington Vintage Country Fair on June 26. Buddrius also stated that he had been told that there would be congestion at the Fire Station, where a corn-hole game was going to be played. Luck said the fire chief was notified of their plans and that he had OK'd the location, "It's all been worked out with the chief." Buddrius seemed the only Councilman to question the safety of placing vendors out on half of a street, which remains open to public traffic, Luck saying, "We do not foresee any risk." Cherie MacClellan, vendor coordinator, appeared and made a few comments about how agreeable it was and assured the council that Cindy Haase of Ott Insurance would carry the liability insurance for the event. The mayor mentioned cones and signage that would lessen concerns. Buddrius said people at these types of events act remarkably like a herd of cattle. Slack stated that he didn't think that the opera house people would let anything happen, "They're pretty adamant about keeping things orderly."

Slack said a group of citizens cleaned the restrooms at the park, since it had been 12 days without upkeep. Up until former public works supervisor McGowen's retirement, cleanup was performed daily). Arrangements are being made to keep them clean until city personnel are in place to assume these responsibilities.

Slack asked Mayor Luck about the Annual Report which was due May 31. Luck admitted that it did not go out on time and is past the deadline. A short discussion was held in which Slack said that when he was late (as mayor), the city did not get a fine, but got the equivalent of a public shaming. (Currently, the city clerks are awaiting the arrival of the State Auditor's representative this week.) Councilman Hardy made mention that he is continuing to work on the snowbird provision for the water and sewer bills for inactive accounts.


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