At the June 11 Harmony City Council meeting, Councilmember Lynn Mensink noted that she has witnessed residents mowing their grass into the street. Along with being unsightly and a danger to bicycle and motorcycle riders, the grass ends up being washed into the city sewers which can clog them up. Reminders about the city’s ordinance regarding grass clippings are currently sent out with the utility bills, but people still mow into the street. Citations will be issued to those who continue to do so. City Maintenance Director Chris Johnson pointed out that the city also has an ordinance requiring residents to have house numbers displayed on their home, which is important for EMTs on the ambulance service. The council asked him to make a list of homes without house numbers so letters can be sent to the homeowners informing them of the ordinance.
Mike McGee, a trustee for the Nativity Catholic Church in Harmony, was present for the public forum portion of the meeting to ask if the city would remove the residential garbage and recycling fees from the utility bill for the rectory. The church no longer has a resident priest living in the rectory and instead uses the space for the church office and a church hall. “We’re just looking for ways to stay vibrant and healthy, and if we could just have that monthly bill lifted, as there’s no residents, that would be helpful,” McGee said. Mayor Steve Donney noted that this is a unique situation as the rectory is technically still a residence, but the way it’s currently being used makes it part of the church which is labeled as a business. After some discussion, the council decided to drop the fees for the church.
The council approved a liquor license renewal for Estelle’s Eatery and Bar on condition of receiving proof of insurance, which should be turned in soon.
The council reviewed a proposal from Stantec Engineering which presented an engineering cost estimate for a feasibility report on a potential 2020 road and utility improvement project. The council approved the proposal.
City Administrator Jerome Illg brought up a difference between the bereavement policy for the union employees and the non-union employees to the attention of the council. The union policy allows up to five days of paid bereavement without using PTO while the non-union policy bereavement time comes out of PTO. As consistency is important, Illg recommended that the matter be passed to the negotiations committee for consideration.
The council discussed the possibility of charging homeowners monthly fees for undeveloped lots that they own. Currently, there is no billing tied to them, but there are still costs associated with them for the city. The monthly fees would amount to approximately $600 a year. Council member Lynn Mensink was not in favor of charging homeowners when the undeveloped lots do not receive services, stating, “I just think $600 a year for nothing is pretty high.” The council tabled the discussion for further consideration.
The EDA board reported that the Harmony Telephone Company is working towards installing fiber optics for faster internet in Harmony and is hoping to be completed in the next several years.
There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Harmony Public Library for the new patio on June 28 at 10 a.m.
The next Harmony City Council meeting will be held on July 9 at 7 p.m.