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Harmony considers road purchase

Fri, Jul 12th, 2013
Posted in Harmony Government

Cory Scrabeck approached the Harmony City Council with an offer to sell some of his property to the city. Third Avenue southwest ends at his property, and Scrabeck owns the rest of the road all the way to the end.

Scrabeck said he has closed it and put up “No Trespassing” signs, but people still go through his property. “Instead of worrying about insurance, I can offer it up for sale or shut it down permanently,” he said.

Scrabeck said he would be in favor of trading the road for an area known as “Out lot C,” which includes the pond. He does not, however, want to own the pond itself. City Administrator Jerome Illg said the city should retain ownership of the pond for cleaning it out when needed.

According to Scrabeck, it would cost $50,000- $60,000 to put that road in there today. He offered to turn it over to the city for $30,000.

Mayor Steve Donney said they have to think about how much they value that road. He said he measured the area at 1.05 acres. Councilor Debbie Swenson reminded Scrabeck that if the city owns it, they can improve the road and assess the cost to the property owner, which would be him. If the city owned the road, which is a gravel road right now with no curb and gutter, there would be a 25-foot setback for any structures.

Mayor Donney recommended they leave the Out lot C option out, as it would create a lot of complications. City Attorney Richard Nethercut asked if the road even meets standards for a city street. Illg said they would have to tear it up to put a water main through there.

Councilor Jim Bakken felt it was necessary to have someone else look at the property and determine its worth before they make any decisions. There was discussion as to what would determine the worth; would it be the cost to build that road right now, or the price of land? Nethercut said they could have the area appraised if they hired an appraiser.

“It’s not something we have to have,” said Donney of the road. “But it would be nice to have that access.”

A motion to offer Scrabeck $25,000 was passed, with Bakken voting against, and Swenson abstaining from voting. A purchase agreement will be drawn up, and the offer is good for 30 days.

Heritage Grove

tax abatement

A public hearing was held before the meeting in regards to the tax abatement on the Heritage Grove property. No citizens attended with questions for the council. The council passed a resolution approving the tax abatement, and a resolution to approve the sale of the bonds.

Since the city had a bond on the Heritage Grove property that cannot be paid off early, and Heritage Grove is now being sold. They have to put the remaining $500,000 in an escrow account to pay it off.

Mike Bubany of David Drown Associates explained First Southeast Bank in Harmony has committed to purchasing the bond for $250,000 at a 4.5 percent fixed rate for 20 years. The city will be paying the remaining $250,000 with an interfund loan.

Bubany reminded the council the property will be bringing to the city around $25,000 a year in taxes each year that it was not bringing in before. The yearly cost of the bond will be less than the city was paying each year to subsidize the property. The sale of Heritage Grove to a private party for $2 million was approved at the June meeting.

1st Ave SW

City Administrator Jerome Illg met with Fillmore Central Schools Superintendent Richard Keith and Principal Heath Olstad to go over the details of the 1st Ave SW that will be taking place next summer. Illg said he showed them how it will affect the area adjacent to the school, including the sidewalk. He said the meeting went well.

Maintenance and

street repairs

Maintenance Director Chris Johnson reported that the new well pump is installed and running. He said they had to get a new motor for the other pump, which cost $1,000, and they are having the old one rebuilt so they can have one on hand.

There are six streets in town that need patch work done, and concrete work that needs to be done on 4th St. NW near Kwik Trip. Kwik Trip had originally agreed to pay for half of that, when the total cost was estimated to be around $16,000. The bids came in, and the low bid was from River City Paving at $25,725. The total cost of all areas will be $35,697.

The council agreed to go forward as long as Kwik Trip will still be paying for half of the project near the store. If they do not, the council will have to reconsider.

Park Board

Councilor Jim Bakken said there is still fundraising going on for the playground equipment at Selvig Park, as there is about $8,500 left to pay. There are a couple of families that would like to donate park benches in memory of loved ones. Bakken said Prosper Lumber will be doing work on the bathroom shelter that sustained hail damage. The cost is covered by insurance.

Other Business

Councilor Lynn Mensink informed the council that the Park Board is hosting a concert/music jam at the Old Legion Hall on July 19 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. J.J. Mensink and others will be performing music that night.

Mensink also asked if some “Children Playing” signs could be put up around 2nd Ave and 5th St. NE, as there are a lot of small children in that neighborhood. Johnson said they have some and will put them up.

The council agreed to pay the $300 for a new electric outlet in the library.

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