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After tie vote, Mayor appoints new city council member


Fri, Dec 14th, 2007
Posted in Government

HARMONY - Since the resignation of Mark McKay from the Harmony City Council at the November meeting, the city has been advertising for someone to finish out the last year of his term. Before the regular City Council meeting December 12, the council interviewed both Allan Dahl and Robert Smith for the position. Dahl is a life-long business and property owner in Harmony. Smith is retired and comes from New Jersey.

At the end of the regular meeting, a motion was made by council member Linda Grover to hire Dahl for the position. Council member Sherry Hines stated that the EDA (Economic Development Authority) has always had a good working relationship with him. She seconded the motion.

Mayor David Kingsley commented that he has heard some things about Dahl, and that he has concerns about the fact that he has had buildings in town that he didn't do work on for years, and money lent from the city to do work that he has yet to do. He added that it would be nice to give Smith a chance.

Grover and Hines voted for Dahl, and Kingsley and Gerald Shuck voted against it. Since McKay was absent, the mayor was able to vote. Due to the tie vote, Kingsley then made a motion to hire Smith. This also ended in a tie vote. City Administrator Jerome Illg stated that in a tie vote, the council can either come up with a new name or the mayor can appoint someone. Kingsley then appointed Smith as the new City Council member.

Parking Issues

Residents of Harmony who live on 1st St. SW attended the meeting to express concerns they have about parking on their street. High school students and faculty park on the street during the day, as well as parents and other people during sporting events and concerts during the evenings. Brandy Williams and Cindy Berg explained that many times there have been vehicles parked in front of fire hydrants, mail boxes and sometimes even their driveways. Both Williams and Berg have taken several pictures of these vehicles, and have also called the sheriff's department. According to Williams, the police have not been ticketing or towing any vehicles.

Williams went on to add that her family has two cars, but her driveway will only hold one, so they have to park one on the street. There have been times that she has had to park far away from her house and walk because there was no parking spot in front of her house. There have also been problems with students knocking over garbage cans on Monday mornings and school buses from visiting teams blocking driveways.

Berg showed the council a picture taken on her cell phone of a car parked in front of a fire hydrant near her home. She said she has pictures of 27 different vehicles parked in front of the same spot. She has called the sheriff's department and nothing has been done about it.

Williams asked the council if it would be possible to put a sign in front of her house that designated a spot only for her to park. City Attorney Richard Nethercut said they cannot make a private parking spot on a public street, and that owning a lot doesn't mean you are guaranteed a parking spot in front of it.

"We would really just like to see something done," stated Williams.

Kingsley recommended that Illg contact the school about parking issues and even have it announced at athletic events. He agreed that the city needs to enforce improper parking on that street, but said there is nothing that can be done as far as a vehicle that is parked legally. The city will talk to the sheriff's department and the school and see if there is an improvement; if not then something else will have to be done.

Since the street is technically a county road, it was recommended that Williams talk to someone at the county about putting up a sign in front of her house.

Parking Lot Project

Illg presented the council with plans that were drawn up in 2000 for a project to repave the Community Center parking lot. He suggested the council get together with Bonestroo engineers to update the project with the current council's desires and attempt to get the costs down.

Council member Gerald Shuck asked about just milling the parking lot, putting new blacktop and maybe adding two catch basins. According to Illg, that would cost approximately $50,000.

Illg also had a bid from WKHS & Co. for a feasibility report at a cost of $1,800. However, at the time Illg requested the proposal, he was not aware that the city had a plan from 2000.

According to Illg, if the lot was simply milled, it would not match up with the current gutter, which would cause more drainage issues.

The council decided to get the cost from both Bonestroo and WKHS & Co. for doing a feasibility report.

Floodplain Management

Program

In a follow-up from last month's meeting, Grover updated the council on the details of the Floodplain Management Program, of which Harmony does not currently participate. According to Grover, Harmony has never been mapped for flood planes. Residents can still get flood insurance, but it is very hard to find and the cost is high. If the city adopts a resolution to participate in the program, residents will then be able to purchase flood insurance if they would like to. Grover mentioned that since the recent flooding in Fillmore County, people are much more cautious, as some of the areas that flooded were not in flood planes. There would be no cost to the city to adopt the resolution, and Grover recommended that they do so.

Other business

• The council approved the budget for 2008, as well as the 2007 taxes payable 2008 at the amount of $522,088, which is a 12 percent increase.

• Dean Brunsvold is retiring as the Civil Defense Director and Emergency Manager, a position he has held for at least 20 years. The council appointed Stuart Morem as his replacement, and thanked Brunsvold for his years of service.

• The council accepted a bid of $1,129 from Ivan Vreeman for a 1941 Farmall tractor that has not been in use for many years.

• The building project at the community center is being finished up and they are testing out the heating units in one of the rooms to see how much energy is used and what temperature to set them at.

• Shuck brought up there were some complaints after last Saturday's snowstorm about snow removal and asked city employee Chris Johnson what the policy is on snow removal. Johnson believed the policy was to get the plows out after two inches, but stated he has sometimes gone out after less snow. He said they take the plows out after a snow even on weekends or holidays, and if it snows into the evening and night, they go out at 3 a.m. and start plowing. They depend on Knife River to come and scoop up snow that has been piled into the middle of the roads in town.

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