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Harmony sanitary sewer extension

Tue, Oct 20th, 2009
Posted in Government

A public hearing was held before the regular Harmony City Council meeting on October 13. A sanitary sewer extension will be placed on 2nd Ave. NW near Solberg Welding and Ironside Trailer Sales and Service. City Administrator Jerome Illg had received some bids for the project, with Swenke Company being the lowest at $14,750. Illg said if the council decides to assess four properties it will be a total of $2,281 each. If they choose to go with five, the cost will drop to $1,825. This price includes the engineering cost.

Dennis Solberg owns Solberg Welding and Ironside Trailer Sales and Service. He also owns a storage shed, which is on the same lot as the welding shop. The council had to decide whether to count that as one property or two for the assessments.

Henry Becker, who owns the storage sheds on that street, was also at the meeting. They asked about who was responsible for maintaining the sewer lines when they went in. Illg said the main line would be the city's responsibility. The property owners would have to pay for their own pump and the sewer line from their property to the main line.

Brett Grabau, an engineer from Bonestroo, said the main could handle up to ten hookups if it had to. If there were any more than that, such as in the event of a new subdivision in the area, they would have to do something different.

The council chose to go ahead with the project and accepted the bid from Swenke Company. They decided to assess four properties at a cost of $2,281 each.

Maintenance Report

City maintenance employee Chris Johnson had several issues to discuss at the meeting, including hauling sludge this fall. He said the new sludge pump they bought is working well, and the land they would like to haul it to has been permitted. Samples have been sent out and they are waiting for the results. According to Johnson, as soon as beans go out, they can haul the sludge.

Johnson had requested a bid from Casey Clark, but his bid included the use of the pump, and it was three cents a gallon. They got another bid for a penny a gallon, with no fuel charge if it is hauled within 1.5 miles. Johnson said they can take some residential streets to make it less than 1.5 miles, but council member Gerry Shuck was concerned about the heavy trucks driving on residential streets.

Johnson also spoke about purchasing a sewer jetter. He found a jetter that is used and 25 years old, but has had work done to it. The jetter can be used to flush drains if needed, and it costs $11,520. Johnson said a new one would cost around $50,000. This jetter would be a lot better than what the city has right now, and should pay for itself in 3-4 years, according to Johnson. The council approved the purchase.

The council also approved having TLC Excavating do some sewer repairs on 1st Ave. SE for $3,500. The price does not include the cost of restoring the asphalt to the street. There are two really bad spots in a 15 foot stretch of the street. Illg said they could go with having a liner installed, which would not disturb the road, but it would cost at least double the amount.

The council approved some repairs needed to the city tractor. Johnson had some prices for new tires and a new bucket. The council went with Hanson Tire for the tires at a price of $2,260. The bucket will come from Hammel Equipment in Harmony for $1,150.

Health Insurance

The personnel committee met recently and talked about the health insurance benefits for city employees. The city now uses Blue Cross/Blue Shield and pays $625 a month for their five employees that are on the family plan. The employees pay $76.50 a month. Illg said the state has rules and regulation that they must pool their assets with others in small groups, and there is a minimum threshold that employees must pay. There was a suggestion from the personnel committee to increase the employees' pay to $104 a month. The council felt the increase should be larger. Illg is going to look into more options and revisit the issue later.

New Restaurant

A liquor license for a new restaurant in town called "Quarter/Quarter" was approved. The restaurant will be where the Scandinavian Blomma and Clover Art Gallery are currently located. Owner Steve Larson said the restaurant will have 60 seats in the main area, as well as a smaller wine bar. He described the food as "global comfort food" which is affordable. He closes on the building on the 19th and is planning on having it completed in six weeks.

Other Business

Council member Dan Tieffenbacher reported the park board has decided to replace and repair broken fixtures at the restroom at the north park. The estimated cost is $4,363. To redo the whole thing and make it handicap compliant would cost twice as much. To save money they are going to rent a handicap accessible port-a-potty for six months.

The council approved a bid for a new ambulance from 94 Services. Their bid of $96,468, which includes trade-in, was only slightly higher than the bid from Taylor Made. The last four ambulances have come from 94 Services, which is located in Sumner, Iowa. Taylor Made ambulances come from Arkansas. The city has never had any problems with 94 Services, who make the Lifeline ambulances.

Illg informed the council there may be a new building going up in the Industrial Park area just south of Torgerson's Auto. The business would be a meat processing place. Planning and Zoning and the EDA still need to approve some permits and applications.

The council approved having a street light installed on the corner of County Rd. 44 and 1st Ave. SW. The bid from Morem Electric was $2,825. The city has a pole already that can be used. There was also discussion about a light on the corner of US Hwy 52 and County Rd 21. The council decided to wait on that request.

The council also approved the purchase of a new utility meter reader. City employees have been trying out two different types, and the council chose the larger, more expensive model. This larger model has the capacity to allow for radio reads in the future. Illg said this change will be eventually need to be made for all water and electric meters. The reader cost $9,900.

The council looked at the budget for 2010. Illg recommended that they look at the possibility of doing a project in the next year, as construction prices and interest rates are low. They are going to do a feasibility study on street repairs for 3rd Street from the Community Center to County Rd. 139. This is something that Illg said will need to be done anyway and he thought they should think about doing it next year.

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