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Harmony to allow “doggy daycare”

Fri, Oct 11th, 2013
Posted in Harmony Government

Harmony Greenhouse and Floral owner Paula Fisher approached the Harmony City Council on October 8 regarding the current animal ordinance. Fisher has been working on a business plan for the last year, and would like to open a dog boarding kennel and daycare in Harmony. This business would be at the same location, but still separate from the greenhouse.

The current ordinance for animals in town does not allow for more than four cats or four dogs at a time. Fisher asked if the city would consider amending the ordinance to allow for a new business.

City Attorney Richard Nethercut said that right now, there are no kennels allowed at all, and the city would have to change that. Council members agreed that some sort of regulations would need to be in place. The greenhouse is now located in an industrial zone. It was agreed there should be a permit process and it should be limited to industrial zoned areas to prevent large kennels in residential areas.

Fisher said the dogs will be inside at night. There will be an evaluation process before a dog is allowed to stay there, including vaccinations and the ability to get along with other dogs. She would also like to add the service of grooming in the future if she builds up enough clientele.

Fisher added that having a doggy daycare for pets could be a big draw for tourists, as there are many hotels and B&Bs that do not allow dogs. She will have daycare for dogs, as well as boarding for longer periods.

A new ordinance will be worked on and something will be presented at the November meeting.

Water System project

Russ Stammer was at the meeting to discuss the well project. In 2011, the capital improvement plan for the water system included getting a third well in 2015. Stammer said this may seem like a long ways from now, but he felt it was time to review the next steps and plan ahead.

Well #1, located near the water tower, is very old and has had a lot of work done to it. Well #2 is in better shape, but is still a pretty old well. The council had decided a third well would be the next priority.

Stammer spoke of some funding options for a new well, including a state revolving loan fund. These loans usually have interest rates that are 1 or 2 percent lower than other sources. An application was submitted to get Harmony on the priority list and Harmony was ranked number 35.

Stammer explained that drinking water quality projects usually have the highest priority ranking for these loans, followed by new wells and then water main projects. He feels Harmony has a good chance of getting these funds.

The important thing to think about at this time is the location of the third well. Stammer suggested the industrial park area, which could also be a location of a new water tower in the future.

Stammer said a new well can be done before a water tower, since the costs for both projects are very high.

Mayor Steve Donney asked if they could just stop using well #1 and use the same location for the new well. Stammer did not recommend using that location, as there could be complications with the old casing that is corroding.

Mayor Donney didn’t feel there was any need to keep the old well around if there are two others that are working, and there would also be less maintenance to worry about.

In 2011, Stammer estimated the new well would cost around $450,000. This will likely increase before the project is done. The council also has to look at the costs and work out what kind of water rate increases will be needed to help. The revolving loan terms can be 15-20 years.

City Administrator Jerome Illg’s concern about deciding a location this early was securing the property if they chose a location that was not already owned by the city.

City truck

City Maintenance employee Chris Johnson said one of the city’s trucks is due to be replaced next, as it is nine years old. He looked at bids for trucks from McKean and Torgersons Auto.

Illg said there is $14,000 set aside in the budget for the purchase.

One truck from McKean was priced at $18,700, and one similar truck from Torgersons was $14,000. This was the cost after trading in the old truck.

There was the question of getting a brand new truck at state bid and keeping the old truck. Johnson said they could always get rid of the van that is normally driven by Terry Bigalk, since it is very old.

There was also a question about the van that used to belong to Heritage Grove. Eileen Schansberg said the van gets used by employees for traveling to meetings and trainings, and it’s nice to have it for a spare.

The council decided to wait until the first of the year to purchase a truck, and then get a brand new one with a state bid. The truck will be fixed and kept for now.

Utility deposits

There is currently a $150 deposit for all utilities hookups in Harmony. Illg said now that Heritage Grove is no longer owned by the city, the independent living apartments will now need to pay a deposit for new hookups. Illg felt the $150 deposit was a bit steep considering the residents only pay electricity, which average $40-50 a month. The same situation applies to the north Manor apartments. It was agreed to charge those apartments a $75 deposit when hooking up utilities. The renter gets the deposit back when they move out.

Ambulance Compensation

City Clerk Eileen Schansberg said the compensation for ambulance crew members has not been increased since 2008. She requested a $10 increase per run, and the council approved. EMTs will receive $50 per run if going to LaCrosse, Wis. or Rochester, Minn., and $40 if going to Cresco, Iowa or Decorah, Iowa. First responders will receive $40 if going to LaCrosse or Rochester, and $30 for Cresco or Decorah. Schansberg said they average about 200 runs a year.

Other Business

Council member Lynn Mensink said the Arts Board decided they will no longer be involved in the musician statue project involving wood carvings from Stanley Maroushek.

Illg introduced the new police officer Deputy Jessy Betts. Betts will be covering Mabel, Canton, and Harmony.

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