Burns Town Council members were faced with four lease options for space in the Burns-Plex at Monday night’s meeting. STRIDE and CB Saddlery were both approved for one year leases at $300 per month. STRIDE will have a home in the south building, while CB Saddlery will have one in the north building.
Jessica Loyd and Denise Holte were at the meeting to discuss compliance issues with the kitchen and playground for a day care Loyd would like to open in the south building. The playground needs fencing and weed removal. Currently a portion of the fence is down making way for construction of the new ambulance building. The fence will be back in place before a day care opens.
Loyd reiterated the need for a commercial kitchen with divider between the cooking and serving areas, and locked cabinets dedicated to the day care only. Council has discussed the possibility of constructing this type of kitchen in the buildings break room so that there is community access. Loyd asked council for a time frame in which this work could be done, with the hope of opening her day care center in the fall.
“I was previously a teacher and would like to use this for child care and pre-school,” Loyd said. “I understand there is a time pressure. If it is possible by fall I am ready to move in and open in fall.”
“I see this happening in about two years,” said mayor Judy Johnstone. “We still have to do the design, engineering and construction.”
Loyd mentioned she could get a variance of 6 months on the requirements, but no longer.
“We sure want this in here, but there’s no way this will be done in six months,” said councilman Dennis Bastian. “If there’s a way not to have an elaborate kitchen that would help.”
Loyd said the real issue is being able to sanitize, therefore she needs a triple sink installed. Though not the first and best option, she said she can provide a refrigerator and a microwave for meals in the meantime.
Holte spoke up and said the kitchen does not have to be elaborate, but does need the three sinks to be in compliance with health codes.
“Part of the issue is we have to abide by state laws too, so if we have to bring a stove in we have to have fire suppression,” Johnstone said, adding the cost is roughly $100,000. This is a higher cost than other facilities as the Burns-Plex is a government-owned building and much larger that other facilities.
Johnstone said Loyd is welcome to put a triple sink in at her own expense.
“It’s a catch 22 because to be fiscally observant we have to be careful,” Johnstone said. “We have money coming in from 6th Penny for upgrades to the Burns-Plex, but when prioritizing that is last on the list. We are stuck with what we are stuck with financially.”
Councilman Harvey Humphrey said the council understands the need, but the project has only gone as far as the discussion phase.
“We haven’t taken it to the public to see what they want,” Humphrey said. “There’s not an easy fix.”
Several suggestions were made to resolve the food issue including having parents provide sack lunches and asking the Around the Corner Cafe´tor school district to provide lunches. These options were on the table long as neither the school district nor the cafe was willing and Loyd felt the parents would want hot lunches provided
Other suggestions given serious consideration are using the north building and putting a triple sink in the kitchen in that building and looking to the senior center for food preparation and installing a triple sink in the day care room. Those options will be looked into in the coming weeks.
The lease for 102 E. First fell through Monday night after the council rejected a proposed lease from Sabrina Mathews. Mathews was to open a dollar store in the building.
“At the work session we discussed leases in general and told Sabrina she needed to pay the utilities and a small amount of rent,” Johnstone said.
“This is not what this proposal includes, with rent to increase over three years,” Bastian said, after looking over the lease presented by Mathews.
“We made it clear we cannot lose money, you need to put utilities in your own name and pay rent — $200 the first year, $400 the second year, and $500 the third year,” Johnstone said.
“So you want me to pay $200 rent, $250 utilities and renovate the building, am I clear,” Mathews asked.
Johnstone said as far as renovations are concerned, the town will be getting bids for the porch and steps but Mathews is responsible for interior.”
“If that’s what you want it’s over my head,” Mathews said. “That price is not affordable.”
“You have to make your decision based on what you can afford, we have to decide based on what is best for town,” Johnstone said.
Mathews argued that the plan she proposed showed profit to the town, while several council members argued profit was not what was sought, but not going in the hole for someone else’s business. Mathews claimed in the time she has rented the building the town has profited $1,500 by her paying rent. Council clarified that rent had not been paid, but some payment on utilities had. Mathews said that was the rent she paid.
In the end it was decided Mathews would get a contractor in to the building to remove the security system and then vacate the lease.
Moving into reports, Johnstone asked council to start considering what the second 6th Penny project would be. The town ranked the projects by cost, least to highest. The first project was to purchase a skid steer. That is currently in the works. The next two projects are the elevation study for drainage and work on the maintenance building. She asked council to chose one to being working on.
Humphrey brought a concern from drivers to the Panhandle Coop to the council. They have asked that the stop sign at the bottom of the hill by the coop be removed as there is no longer any cross traffic. That request was approved.
Jim Clark announced he is trying to be the Bountiful bBaskets program started in Burns and needs have 40 people sign up before it can start. The program is a food delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables twice a month at a cost of $15 per basket. Orders are placed on Monday of the delivery week, and picked up on Saturday. Residents are asked to let Clark know or notify town clerk Toni McNamar if they are interested. If enough interest is expressed the program could start in August or September.
In new business council looked at bids presented by Heritage Building Services for steps and ramps at the modular used by the sheriff’s department and at the old town hall. The bids were requested by Johnstone. Humphrey noted the town always has gone out for bids on such projects and “to be true to ourselves we need to get at least two bids.” Councilman Charlie Vosler concurred. Humphrey was asked to solicit bids to be decided at the August council meeting
HBS is the contractor working on the ambulance building. Work has been halted as the town engineering firm AVI did not seek the state fire marshal’s approval of the building plans before work started. There will be at least a 15 day delay in the project.
With HBS at a standstill putting the workers out of work, Bastian made a motion to move forward with the stair/ramp bids to get the men to work. That motion died for lack of a second.
The next Burns Town Council meeting will be held Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Burns-Plex.