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Harmony City Council Report: Water tower painting delayed until well work is completed

Fri, Jul 13th, 2007
Posted in Government

The City of Harmony's plans to repaint and reseal the water tower will have to wait until some major changes are made to the nearby well. Russ Stammer from the engineering company Bonestroo explained to the council at their July 10 meeting, that the well is piped differently than most, as it is piped directly into the tower instead of the water mains.

The water tower will have to be drained for the painting project, and the city will need to depend on the well during that time for its water supply. Stammer stated the well itself is still good, but the water tower is living on "borrowed time," and will eventually need to be replaced. According to city employee Chris Johnson, the water tower has been up since 1938, and the well, which is one of two in the city, is from around 1950.

Stammer estimated the cost of changing the piping on the well at somewhere between $15-25,000. To save the city time and money, he suggested avoiding formal advertising and specs and get quotes from two or more contractors. He added that the city will need to put in an application to the Department of Health before starting the project. Once plans are drawn up, they can be sent to the contractors and the Dept. of Health at the same time.

Stammer also indicated that Bonestroo would like to be authorized to use their services, at a cost of $3-5,000. They will try to save the city as much money as possible.

City Administrator Jerome Illg said he will have to talk to Maguire Iron about possibly delaying the painting and sealing project, and find out if their original price will remain the same if delayed. Stammer believed the well project could be done this fall, probably in less than a week.

Stammer showed the council photographs of the well and explained what needs to be done. Apparently, the well had been piped underground at one time and had been changed.

Johnson stated that the project would eliminate several problems, as there has been some trouble in the last few years with the way things are set up. The council approved going ahead with the project.

Community Center


Several months ago the council approved a project to help save energy costs in the community center building. In some of the rooms, new panel walls would be put in place of the large windows, with heating and cooling for each room located right in the wall. The large windows that are in each room now allow a lot of heat to escape, which raises heating costs. The new walls would allow some rooms to be closed off and only heated when in use.

Dwight Scrabeck of Harmony was hired for the project, which had no deadline, but has not yet begun. Council member Mark McKay, speaking for the Building Committee, stated that Scrabeck had asked to be paid for part of the project.

"I'm just concerned because we approved the project last November," said Illg. "I was asked in March to send a letter asking for him to get things ordered, and here we are on July 10, and nothing's been done."

A motion was made, and passed, to scratch the project and start over with someone else. Council member Gerry Shuck will speak to Joe Hahn of Hahn Lumber about designing a new project, using stick-built walls instead of panels. They will then get per-room bids from local contractors and decide from there how many rooms to work on.

Illg mentioned that Fillmore Central will still be renting at least five rooms for the next school year. In the past, the Root River Ed. District had rented six rooms for their offices and classrooms. The work being done will include one of the classrooms, which will not be done before school starts in September.

Jacobson Addition

Bret Grabau from Bonestroo Engineering informed the council that the underground water and sewer lines are finished in the Jacobson Addition, on fifth street northeast and everyone is hooked up. They will be putting down the fabric and rock as soon as the work is approved. He also made a pay request for $34,565.75, which was approved.

Grabau also explained a couple of changes that were made from the original plans. The plan for Bob Peters' lot was to extend his service through a second lot. They found that his service didn't run through the second lot, so an additional service was added. Illg stated that this would have to be taken into consideration when going through the assessments.

League of Minnesota Cities Convention

City Employee Eileen Schansberg recently attended the League of MN Cities Convention in Duluth, and she shared her experiences with the council members. She had a chance to compare the things that Harmony is doing to other cities in the state, as far as housing incentives and working with the school districts.

"I felt pretty good about our community," shared Schansberg. "I feel like we are on the right track."

One of the main topics at the convention was getting younger people to move back to the small communities, and what should be offered. Schansberg said there was a lot of emphasis on the arts, and on being environmentally aware.

Other business

Harmony resident Dan Tiffenbacher approached the council about CFLs, or Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, and a possible incentive program to encourage people to use them in their homes. According to Tiffenbacher, CFLs last about 5 years, and use about one-eighth the energy of incandescent bulbs, but the cost is very high at around $4.75 - $6.00 a bulb. Illg is going to talk with Tri-County Electric about any programs they may have to help cover some of the costs.

The council approved the following:

• A resolution to submit a DEED redevelopment grant for the downtown redevelopment project.

• The appointment of Lu Ommen to the Arts Board, in place of Debra Sandvik, through December 2008.

• A pancake breakfast at the Fire Hall for Dobie Days on August 18.

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