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Harmony City Council discusses property values

Mon, Apr 16th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Government

Cindy Blagsvedt from the Fillmore County Assessor’s office was at the Harmony City Council meeting on April 10 to discuss property values. A Board of Review was held before the regular meeting for residents who had questions or concerns, or wanted to appeal their valuation.

Blagsvedt said they assessed approximately 40 homes in Harmony. There were a few changes to values, mostly based on depreciation, and the council approved of those.

Roger and Chris Torgerson were the only residents at the meeting with concerns about their property value. Roger said that his property, Torgerson’s Auto, went up in value last year when everyone else’s went down. He said the value of the blacktop on his property went up when it should have depreciated. It was valued at $1.75 per square foot.

Blagsvedt said the price of asphalt has increased a lot. Torgerson said the new cost factor shouldn’t be a part of already existing property. The council approved reducing the value to 60 cents per square foot.

Torgerson also had some issue with the value of the building compared with the value of the buildings nearby.

Blagsvedt also gave the council a summary of the recent sales study done in Fillmore County.

Audit Report

Jason Boynton from Smith Schafer and Associates presented the council with the 2011 audit report. He commented that they should be proud of the work that is done in Harmony financially.

The general fund unreserved fund balance, which is $639,263 is 87 percent of the general fund expenditures. Boynton said this is a good number.

The fire fund has a balance of negative $214,108 since they bought a fire truck in 2011.

There is a cash balance of $121,584 in the revolving loan fund. The Capital Projects fund balance is $360,845, which is for future capital improvements.

Money from TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District #1 was used for downtown improvements, commercial rehab, and the 3rd street project. Right now there is around $50,000 left, and Illg expects they will have $130,000 in the fund this year. The district will be decertified by the end of the year, and the money will have to be spent by then.

Council member Gerald Shuck asked how Harmony compares with other cities. Boynton said that Heritage Grove is a concern, but they are making the best of it, and Harmony is not overly strapped with debts. Illg said he thinks Harmony is in a good position right now. He said the Capital Improvement Plan they will be working on with Mike Bubany would help them see how they are doing compared with cities of similar size.

The council approved the audit report.

Building and Maintenance

City Maintenance employee Chris Johnson said they have had trouble with well number one, and have had the motor replaced.

There was some discussion about purchasing road salt for next winter. Illg said they are obligated by their contract to purchase either one ton or seven tons by June 1. They must also put in their order for next season by April 17. Johnson said they only used about half of what they purchased for this past winter, leaving around 25 tons.

Shuck suggested they buy the seven tons now at last season’s price, since prices will go up for next season. It was agreed to purchase seven tons now, and 15 tons for next season.

Hobo Repair

Dan Tieffenbacher said the park board is filing an insurance claim to get the Hobo carvings at the trailhead park repaired. There has been some damage and vandalism done, and he requested the city pay the $500 deductible, since they are a city attraction. The council approved.

Illg said that Slim Maroushek, who carved the hobos, could potentially repair the statues. He added they might have to be moved if vandalism continues to be a problem. There was a street light put up near there because of past issues.

Other Business

Council member Deb Swenson suggested the entrance to the Community Center have some updates made. She said the sidewalk is cracked and the lighting is poor. Illg is going to look into the costs.

Corey Tammel was approved for the summer city employee.

The council approved two commercial rehab loans as recommended by the EDA. One was for a business to put a new sign and awning up, as well as painting. The other business will be putting new siding and windows in.

The land lease for the ARMER tower at the fire hall was approved.

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