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Harmony City Council discusses sidewalk assessments


Fri, Jan 17th, 2014
Posted in Harmony Government

Brett Grabau of Bonestroo presented the Harmony City Council with the completed Feasibility Report on the 1st Ave street project at their regular meeting on January 14. The report analyzed the street, the project itself, and the cost associated. The feasibility report was drawn up after the assessment policy was approved by the council at the December meeting.

Some more discussion by the council led to some changes in the assessment policy. There was some confusion about assessments as related to sidewalk replacement, and some of the language was changed.

Mayor Steve Donney felt that everyone in the city benefits from a new sidewalk, so he suggested the cost of replacement during a street repair should go to the city. This way, all of the taxpayers are contributing to the cost.

Councilor Jim Bakken disagreed, and felt the people that benefit the most from the sidewalk are the people that live on that property. He wanted to have 60 percent of the cost assessed to the property owner, with 40 percent going to the city.

The council voted to have 100 percent of the costs go to the city, with Bakken voting against.

A schedule of the project was presented with the report. There will be a public improvement hearing on January 21 to discuss the project itself. Construction will begin in June, with the hopes of completion before school starts in September. In October, another public hearing will be held in regards to the special assessments and the final costs.

TIF District

Mike Bubany of David Drown Associates presented to the council a plan for the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District #6, which was approved.

Harmony Enterprises has expanded its business, and they intend to add approximately 5800 square feet to their building, which will be a shipping /receiving space and a loading dock. This project will require fixing a drainage issue that has been a problem for some time, and will include installing storm sewer.

The total cost of the expansion project is estimated at $175,000. Harmony Enterprises has asked for up-front TIF assistance to make the project possible.

The city agreed to establish the TIF District in order to help them out, and provide Harmony Enterprises with $65,000 once the project is completed. Ninety-five percent of the tax increments generated will go toward paying this back, and the other five percent towards refunding the city the costs of setting up the TIF District.

A DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) program recently came to light offering tax credits to businesses that are adding jobs. Harmony Enterprises is going to submit an application for an award or rebate from this Job Creation Fund Program. The council passed a resolution approving the project and the application.

Compensation of

board members

Currently, the City Council and EDA members are compensated for their services to the city. The members of the Arts Board, Park Board, Library Board, and Planning and Zoning Commission work on a volunteer basis. Illg said there is sometimes difficulty getting enough people at the meetings to form a quorum, and he felt maybe it would entice members to attend if there was some sort of compensation.

The council agreed and approved the payment of $25 per member per meeting, to be paid annually. Members will only get paid for the meetings they attend.

Other Business

The council approved the appointment of Matt Haugerud to the Fire Department.

The EDA will continue to waive utility connection fees and zoning permits for new house construction.

The library board is getting estimates to replace the carpet in the library.

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