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Harmony City Council Report: Community Center improvements discussed

Fri, Sep 15th, 2006
Posted in Government

Harmony - On September 12 the Harmony City Council discussed the costs associated with building improvements to the Community Center. The council is investigating three phases of improvements. The first phase would improve the east side of the building and include construction of HVAC panel units that would help increase the energy efficiency of the building. City Administrator, Jerome Illg, outlined in a memo that the costs for this phase would be extracted from the city's capitol improvement fund (construction) and electrical fund (electrical work). The costs associated with improving the center include $31,200 in electrical costs, $11,578 in heating and air conditioning costs and $45,994 for construction of the panels for seven rooms.

Council member Mark McKay reported that there were still questions concerning the heating and cooling units - he discovered that what was originally planned may not be large enough for the size of the space. He has been investigating other options such as boiler or electrical units. At this point in time McKay prefers the Scrabeck product but would like to consult VIS Plumbing and Heating before making any recommendations. The council tabled this discussion until further cost information is explored.

Housing Incentives

Council member Sherry Hines presented the council with a housing incentive policy proposal. The policy would include incentives for both current Harmony residents that relocate within the city and new residents moving to the city. The three incentives would be for new construction, purchasing an existing house and for current resident's housing improvements.

The new construction incentive would include a waiver for building permit and utility hook-up fees, a utility rebate, Harmony Dollars and two free city trees for a total value up to $4,120. The purchasing of existing residence incentive would include a real estate tax abatement, a city utility rebate, Harmony Dollars and two free city trees for a total value up to $2,370. The current resident housing improvement incentive would include a waiver for building permit fees, a city sponsored energy audit, an energy efficiency rebate, a real estate tax rebate and two free city trees for a total value of $1,220.

The council approved these incentives with the condition that they would be re-visited in one year to evaluate their effectiveness. Additionally, the council approved including notices of these housing incentives on the Harmony TV commercial. For more information regarding these incentives residents may contact the Harmony City Office.

Nuisance Ordinance

The council approved language changes to the Harmony Building Maintenance and Appearance nuisance ordinance. This language was recommended by the League of Minnesota Cities organization to help provide clarification on the ordinance.

The new language basically revised the ordinance's first paragraph. Now it reads "buildings fences and other structures that have been so poorly maintained that their physical condition and appearance detract from the surrounding neighborhood are declared to be public nuisances because they (a) are unsightly, (b) decrease adjoining landowners and occupants' enjoyment of their property and neighborhood, and (c) adversely affect property values and neighborhood patterns." This ordinance will be enforced by the city.

Preliminary Budget

The council reviewed and approved the city's preliminary budget for 2007. The final budget will be approved by mid-December of 2006. The public will have an opportunity to question and discuss this budget (not evaluations) on December 5 with a continuation hearing on December 12. More information regarding these hearings such as time and place will be available closer to these dates.

Other Business

The council also:

• approved a sales tax audit that reduces the city's tax liability.

• approved a raise from $5 to $7 in the per capita amount for ambulance services to townships.

• learned that during the past year in which the city has taken over the wastewater treatment facility, all permits have been met and, with the exception of a few maintenance issues, everything is going well.

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