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Harmony City Council discusses street report

Fri, Nov 16th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Government

By Jade Sexton

Engineer Brett Grabau was Bonestroo was at the Harmony City Council meeting on November 13 to talk about the street engineer report that was recently done.

Grabau explained that the report looked at Harmony’s immediate and long-term street needs. Harmony has 8.96 miles of city streets, and 6.1 miles that are in the rating of 4,5, or 6 on a scale of 1-10.

“You have a good variety of streets,” said Grabau. “Most of them are right in the middle of their life cycle.”

Grabau used the PACER rating scale to map out the streets of Harmony to see what the needs were and where the city should plan on making improvements in the near future.

City Administrator Jerome Illg said the city needs to look at what needs to be redone in the next couple of years, and when they seal coat next year, not bother spending money on those streets.

Some of the most needy streets are in the southeast part of town, especially 1st Ave SE. Maintenance employee Chris Johnson said they have to look at what streets will also need sewer or water redone underneath as well.

There was some discussion about updating the assessment policy to include mill and overlay of streets, which Grabau recommended. Mayor Steve Donney was in favor of keeping assessments low, especially on higher-costing projects.

Donney said he and the city council members would like to look at the Capital Improvement Plan and review it.


Illg presented the council with the budget cuts that each department came up with. The final budget must be approved at the December meeting. There was a total $49,700 in cuts made.

Dan Tieffenbacher said the library board had agreed to cut $3,500 from their budget. Illg said they cut $1,500 from the utilities budget at the community center, based on past experience with the bills there. There were cuts made from every department.

Heritage Grove Bond


Illg informed the council that the EDA (Economic Development Authority) is asking the city to help pay the Heritage Grove bond payment that is due on December 1. He explained there are two bond payments a year. The city has $50,000 budgeted for this purpose, but Heritage Grove needs about $25,000 more than that to make the December 1 payment.

Illg explained the reason they have been so short of money is the vacancies they have been struggling with, but the city’s contribution this year is much improved over last year’s. The council approved.

New Transformer

Illg presented the council with information about buying a new transformer at the substation. The utility committee met with Tri-County Electric a few times to discuss their options and the cost. They recommended the city purchase a Jordan 3750 kVA transformer at a cost of $137,025. There is also a cost of repairing the old transformer on the day of the outage, which is $14,283.19. Illg said the change out cost is approximately $10,000.

There is no estimate on how much insurance is going to cover for the costs, but the city is hoping for half.

According to Illg’s report, Tri-County Electric can pay for the outage, new transformer, and the change out and amortize it in their monthly bills over 10 years at 4.6 percent interest if they choose to go that route.

The council approved the purchase, and there was some discussion as to payment options, but no decision was made.

Building and Maintenance

Johnson reported a water loss survey was done this month, which is an annual thing. No leaks were found this year. There was also an annual inspection of the backflow preventers at the fire hall and wastewater treatment plant.

As for checking the chlorine levels, Johnson said the state wants him to check for other things as well, such as salty discharge parameters. Johnson said there will be more samples that he will have to take every week. Right now he collects five samples every week, but some of these will be monthly samples.

Bond Refinancing

Illg spoke to the council about refinancing one of the bonds they have, as interest rates are lower. This could potentially save them $22,000 over the life of the bond. Illg said to refinance, they will have to call for a public hearing at the December meeting, then have the public hearing in January.

“If we could save some money, it would be a good thing to do,” said Mayor Steve Donney. “It could be cheaper if we wait a couple of months, but then it might change back to where it wouldn’t make sense.

The total cost for refinancing would be $15,000. The council approved refinancing, as long as they save at least $20,000.

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