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Harmony City Council Report: Jacobson Addition assessments approved

Fri, Sep 14th, 2007
Posted in Government

HARMONY - Many residents of the newly-completed Jacobson Addition in Harmony were present at the city council meeting September 11 to find out how the cost of the improvements would be assessed. City Administrator Jerome Illg presented the council with an Assessment Roll showing a breakdown of the costs of the project, as well as the costs of the 100 foot road extension to the east.

It had been decided at a previous meeting to assess half of the cost of the project to the property owners and divide it evenly between the nine lots. The total cost, without the 100 foot extension, was $98,749.21. Each property owner will have to pay $5,721.89, plus $900 if there are hook-ups involved, over the next ten years on their property taxes.

The 100 foot extension cost $12,975.09. Half of the cost will be divided between Murrel Jacobson and Lee Bigalk, who own properties adjacent to the extension. Each of them will be assessed $3,243.77 for the extension. The original assessment roll stated that if they do not build on that property in five years, they would have to pay the city's half, or another $3,243.77.

Council member Gerald Shuck pointed out that if the owners do not build in five years, they will have paid more than 100 percent of the total cost of the project. He stated he was under the impression that the cost would be split nine ways, and if Jacobson and Bigalk did not build in five years, they would pay the remainder of the total cost of the project. He made a motion to this effect, and it was approved. The difference between what they would be assessed for that extension and the actual cost of the project was determined to be $765.65.

Illg mentioned that the final cost was about fifteen percent lower than projected and ended up being around $113,000. The resolution adopting the assessments and the final payment was approved.

Firemen Relief Association

Steve Donney and Randy Mayer spoke to the council about The Harmony Firemen's Relief Association, and how they contribute to the volunteer fire department and the community. The annual firemen's dance raises money for equipment, and they also raise money through gambling for the pensions of retired firemen.

According to Donney, the city has been giving the association $5,000 a year since approximately 1994, and they appreciate all that the city does for them.

Currently the retired firemen receive $550 for every year of service if they retire after ten years. Donney requested that the amount received be raised to $750 for each year of service. He added that firemen that have volunteered for many years will receive more money, but they have done a lot of work in their time, and it's a way of repaying them for their services.

Since the money is being invested, Shuck was wondering if the city would be under any more liability than they already are if the rate is increased. Donney was certain that the city would not have any problems.

Mayer mentioned that the Harmony Fire Department has been working hard to help Rushford with their flooding problems. According to Mayer, they have put in 397 man-hours of volunteer time helping the Rushford Fire Department. They were called out on the morning of Sunday, August 19, by the Sheriff's Department, and have since put 960 miles on their vehicles driving back and forth. The men are alternating working night shifts. Illg agreed that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should cover most of the expenses, since Fillmore County was declared a disaster area. Mayer added that he has been very impressed with the responses in Fillmore County and the work that has been done to help out.

Water Tower and Well Issues

Illg stated the materials for re-piping the well near the water tower will be arriving the week of September 17, and work should begin soon after. The new bid from Maguire Iron for the modification of the overhead riser to the overflow pipe on the top of the tower was $1,500.

The motor for the well has been rebuilt and is working fine. According to Illg, the motor has a one year warranty, the same as a brand new one, and it was rewound at the manufacturer. The city also received credit for additional costs to Morem Electric for work on the motor.

The council had some concerns about receiving a rebuilt motor as compared to a brand new motor, which is what they paid for originally and were expecting to receive. Instead, when the first motor burned up because of the wrong voltage, it was taken away and rewound for the right voltage. It burned up later that same night, and has now been worked on twice.

Brett Grabau of Bonestroo said it is essentially a new motor, and he assumed it would be fine. He added that if the council had any concerns they could ask for an extension on the warranty. Shuck made a motion to ask McCarthy for a brand new motor instead, and if they did not agree, they could then ask for a warranty extension. The motion passed.

Other business

• The preliminary budget for 2008 was approved, with $99,721 in major differences in general fund. Resolution 07-05 was also approved, stating the 2007 taxes payable 2008 are $557,388. Last year's amount was $458,715.

• Bids for the new squad car were received from Bigalk's in Harmony and a state bid. The state bid was slightly less at $18,117, but the council decided to purchase the car locally from Bigalk's at $19,002. They also approved the purchase of needed equipment for the car.

• Plans for the new walls and doors on the east entrances at the community center are completed. The council approved going ahead with soliciting bidders, with a completion date set of December 1.

• A bid from Knife River for asphalt repair in the southeast part of town was accepted at $7,150. Two property owners will be contacted about being assessed 25 percent of the costs, which would be $900 each.

• Dan Tieffenbacher approached the council again about an incentive program for purchasing Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. He mentioned that Spring Valley has a rebate program and they pay half the cost of the bulbs, which are more expensive but use less energy and last longer. Illg had contacted Tri-County Electric to check for a program, and they don't have one. The council agreed to a rebate program of $2 per bulb. The cost of a bulb can range anywhere from $4-6. There will be only 10 rebates issued per year per household, and the customer must show a receipt with proof that a bulb was purchased in Harmony. The rebate money will be credited on the customer's utility bill.

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