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Harmony City Council: From sewer lines to credit lines


Fri, Oct 11th, 2002
Posted in Features

“If we are going to do it, we may as well do it right,” was the opinion of Mayor David Runkell about the sewer line repairs on Sixth Street SE. The Harmony City Council finally decided to repair this troublesome and controversial sewer line at their meeting on Tuesday night.

The private line, which connects six houses to the city line, has collapsed underground and is causing severe sewage problems for two of the homes on that service.

One of those homes is owned by Gary Ehlers. Previously, Mr. Ehlers had called on the city to assist in the repairs of this line even taking the city to court. However, the court determined that the line was private and the city was not obligated to assist.

But the city wants to help and now they are. Engineer Michael Lynch of Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik & Associates, presented a proposed plan which will place a new extended city line under the street. Bids for the project estimate a cost of about $45,000 which will include patching the street after the pipe is placed.

The city will then disable the damaged private line. Property owners will then need to reroute their private lines to connect to the new city line.

The property owners’ share could be about $3000 each with an additional cost for a plumber to connect the private line to the new city line.

The problem: Only two of the six houses are currently having a back-up problem with the sewer. While all of the homes on the line will eventually encounter problems, those property owners without an immediate need are hesitant to pay for the repairs.

Council member Dave Kingsley stated, “Two of them can't wait. We promised them we'd try to get something done.” The group hopes to have the project completed this fall.

Because of the timing and the urgency of the project, assessment proceedings are not an option to fund the sewer work. The Council discussed payment options for the homeowners including a connection charge due in full or offering a credit line to spread the payments out over a time period.

The Council voted to proceed with the repairs and schedule a meeting with the property owners to discuss the charges. Council member Kingsley and Mr. Lynch, the engineer, will be present at the meeting.

Traffic on Third Street SE

City Hall has received complaints of speeding and traffic congestion on Third Street SE in Harmony. The recommendation was made to install stop signs along the street to help regulate the traffic in that area.

City Administrator, Joel Dhein, suggested placing the stop signs on the lesser streets which enter onto Third Street. However, others thought that with no stop signs on Third Street, the road would become a “speed-way.”

After much discussion, Mayor Runkell said, “We will think about it.” He advised the council members to "take a look" at the traffic conditions when they are in that area.

In other business

•The TH 139 Project has a proposed end date of December 1st, 2002. The contract stated an original end date of November 1st, 2002, after which the contractor can be fined $1250 per day until completion. This fine is at the City’s discretion.

•A public hearing will be held at the next council meeting on November12th to discuss the assessments for the Southview Addition. The proposed assessments average more than $9000 per property owner.

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