At the September 12 Harmony, Minn., City Council meeting, City Engineer Brett Grabau, from Stantec, reviewed the feasibility report for the proposed 2024 street and utility project. Three areas had been previously identified, using the 2012 Pavement Management Plan. The areas were Fourth Street North, Snake Alley, and Main Street alleyway. The total estimated project costs were $2,304,249.17. Per city policy, the homeowners are to be assessed for 40% of the cost for improvements at a total assessment of $699,632.69. The feasibility report was approved by the council.
The consent agenda was approved and included the minutes of the August meeting, the claims and August checks, the cash in CD, cash balances, and a PSN service agreement amendment for Paypal, Pay Later, and Venmo.
Resolution 23-08 was approved, accepting a monetary donation from LaVonne and James Todd to the Harmony Public Library. The council expressed their gratitude for the gift.
The council reviewed Resolution 23-07 regarding the 2024 preliminary levy. The amount was presented at 3.5%. However, due to planned infrastructure improvements and other city improvements, the 2025 levy is anticipated to increase 12%. It was suggested that the 2024 levy be increased to offset the jump in 2025. “We can always bring it back down, we can’t take it up,” Council member Jesse Grabau commented. It was noted that that evening’s levy decision was only preliminary and could still change. The 2024 levy was approved at a 6% increase.
The washer compactor at the wastewater treatment plant is not functioning properly and is letting everything through. The council approved the purchase of a new one at a cost of $105,000.
A liquor license application from Harmony Spirits was reviewed. Due to an oversight, Harmony Spirits missed several years of renewing and paying their fees for their cocktail room license and off-sale license. The council approved a motion to forgive the missed fees and renew their license with a start date of July 1, 2023.
A quote from Morem Electric in the amount of $47,100.to remove and replace seven street lights by Pam’s Corner Store and Harmony Foods was reviewed. A light in front of Hammel Equipment will also be replaced, but the cost for that will be submitted to insurance for reimbursement. The quote was approved.
The city’s contract with its website provider is up for renewal. Sam Grabau asked Michelle Quanrud with SMG to put together a quote for website redesign and update as the city’s current website is described as clunky and not user friendly. The cost for a contract with SMG would be $1,000 a year, a jump from the $600 that the city is paying now, but SMG would provide more services, making it worth the extra cost. The quote from SMG was approved.
Quotes from McCarthy Well Company in the amount of $52,491 and from Morem Electric in the amount of $29,500 were approved for a pump upgrade and inspection at Well #1. Sam Grabau has submitted a grant application to the Minnesota Department of Health for up to $10,000 to help offset those costs.
The current handheld meter reader is out of date and cannot read the meters. Even if the existing software is updated, the older meters still will not be able to be read. Installing new software from Metering and Technology would allow the meter readings to be done in the office instead of having to manually collect them. The council approved the meter reader update and software changeover.
The council decided to sell the old building and maintenance truck via sealed bids. Bids will be accepted until October 5 and reviewed at the October 10 Harmony council meeting.
The council discussed the EDA’s request for increased funding in the 2024 year that had been presented at the August meeting. Due to that request, additional funding had been added to the 2024 preliminary levy which was approved earlier in the meeting. Jesse Grabau said that he would like to know if the increase would be annual or if it was a one-time request. It was also noted that state statute does not allow the city to use more than $50,000 for promotional purposes, and the increase in funding to the EDA could mean that no other promotional sources would be able to be used.
The Park Board is looking into options for resurfacing the concrete at the splash pad as it is already cracking and pitting.
The Arts Board is in the process of recruiting a new student representative from Fillmore Central High School to serve on the board.
The next Harmony city council meeting will be held on October 10 at 7 p.m.