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Harmony approves plan for Jacobson addition

Fri, Apr 13th, 2007
Posted in Government

HARMONY - Residents of Harmony turned out for the Public Hearing on the Jacobson Addition project last Tuesday evening. The hearing was held before the regular city council meeting. Brett Grabau from the engineering firm Bonestroo & Associates presented the group with the results of the feasibility study, which showed the estimated cost of the project to be around $110,000.

Grabau explained that the project included making Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street a 32-foot wide paved roadway, extending the water main and sanitary sewer. During the last council meeting, Grabau was asked to check into the cost of extending fifth street to the west to connect with second avenue, and also extending to the east 100 feet.

According to Grabau, the cost of extending the road to the west would be approximately $68,000. The 100 foot extension to the east would cost around $20,000.

Dave Kiehne, who owns the property to the west of the Jacobson Addition, was at the meeting, and stated that he did not want the street extended. The idea was dropped by the council.

The property to the east of the addition is owned by Lee Bigalk. According to City Administrator Jerome Illg, Bigalk would be willing to develop the land if the extension was added to the street.

Grabau presented the council with three options for assessing the cost of the project. In all three options, the city would cover 50 percent of the cost. In option #1, calculated with no extension to the west or east of the addition, street and utility improvements would be assessed at a per property basis. The sewer and water main would be based on a lineal front foot basis, with a maximum of 150 feet.

In option #2, with the 100 foot extension to the east, Bigalk and Merle Jacobson would split half of the cost of the extension, at around $9,900 each.

Option #3, which Grabau felt to be the fairest way to go, the costs for sewer and water would be divided equally among the nine lots, with service hook-up fees extra.

Mayor Dave Kingsley noted that the land to the east of the addition is not platted, and therefore the owner should have to pay 100 percent of the costs.

"We are committed to paying 50 percent on platted land," said Kingsley. "But if it's not platted I don't see how we can add a road. What happens in the future? Are we committed to 50 percent forever out there?"

Grabau mentioned that option #3 would also work without the 100 foot extension, which would bring the cost down some for the residents.

When the public hearing was closed, the council decided to go with option #3 and have Bigalk and Jacobson pay 100 percent of the cost of the extension. They authorized Bonestroo to go ahead with the specs. In May the council will approve the specs, and in June they will approve the bids and hire a contractor. The project will take approximately 6-8 weeks.

Illg recommended to the council that they finance the project internally, using money from the Utilities Fund. The money will have to be paid in full up front, with half of it coming back from assessments. He did not feel that bonds would be cost efficient for this project due to the small amount of money. Money could also come from the general fund if the council chooses to do so.

Sewer Issues

The home of Miles Petree and Lisa Miller has had sewer problems, and they are attempting to hook up with a sewer main near their house. The council had already decided to hook them up to the west of their home, putting in a line that could also be hooked up to by their neighbor. Petree wanted them to look into hooking up southeast of the house, which would be a much shorter route and less costly.

"I just don't think there has been enough discussion," stated Petree. "I was told that a decision has been made and I have no choice."

Kingsley was concerned that it would not work the other way, and Petree would not have a drain in his basement. City employee Chris Johnson said that it could work out if done that way. The council agreed to have Brett Grabau look at the situation and determine which way would work out the best.

Petree understood that the cost of the project is 100 percent his no matter which way the council decides on; he just wants to know that all options have been looked at. Mayor Kingsley was unaware that there was more than one option.

Mike Lynch from Bonestroo agreed that the other option should be looked at, even though the first option might still be the best one.

Water Tower

Sometime soon the water tower will need to be cleaned and re-painted, and to do that, it must be completely drained for three weeks. Illg explained that the water will need to go into the well near the Scandinavian Blomma, and they may also need to use one near the tower. Mike Lynch stated that it would help Chris Johnson out a lot if he was able to utilize the expertise of Todd Arlander from Bonestroo. He estimated that he may need to use him for about 15 hours throughout the process in case something goes wrong or if there are any questions. The council approved hiring Arlander.

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