Harris Council looking for ways to keep 2013 levy down

By Victoria Dahlin

The Harris City Council met Monday, Aug. 13 with City Treasurer Marlys Balfany presenting the proposed 2013 budget.

Council members Randy Carlson, Judy Hammerstrom, John Rossini and Mayor Dianne Miller spent a lengthy time going over first the revenue, and then the expenditures in great detail.

The councilors asked many questions of Balfany while trying to find ways to cut expenses and increase revenue to keep the proposed levy down. At this time with changes still to be made, the levy would increase 6.95 percent.

In order to avoid that increase the council needs to cut expenses or increase revenue by $32,500.

The council will once again review the preliminary budget at its next meeting in September. Even if approved as it is, the council has until December to make changes to lower, but not increase the levy.

During public comment, Craig Moline, updated the council about the renewal of the upcoming contract with Peoples Service and the need to get competitive bids from other agencies licensed to handle a wastewater treatment plant.

Mayor Miller agreed, but said there needed to be a workshop for a contract to be drawn up before bids could be made, and at this time finishing the city budget took priority. In the end, it was decided a workshop would tentatively be scheduled for Monday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.

Council member Rossini requested approval to consult an attorney about the ordinance changes, particularly those pertaining to signage. Council member Hammerstrom made a motion that a $1,000 limit be put on that, but there was no second.

Rossini moved a $2,000 cap, which was approved.

There will be a hearing in October concerning the proposed ordinances with a council vote to follow later.

The fee schedule was approved with a special event fee of $20 and ball field with concession stand use fee of $25 added to the fee schedule.

Accounts payable were approved, as well as the request from Fire Chief Trever Williams for $1,200 for mask tests, and the request from Jason Zastera for repairs to the dump truck with a $2,000 cap.

Written reports were submitted by People Service, City Engineer Chuck Schwartz, City Clerk Donna Heidelberger and Public Works with no discussion by the council.

Councilor Rossini announced there will be a workshop for the Business of Harris Growth and Development Committee to get together and discuss ways to grow business in Harris Monday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. He invited the council to attend and is hoping many business owners in Harris will attend.

The council showed great appreciation to cemetery caretaker Richard Hanson, who was present, for all he does to maintain Oak Grove Cemetery.

The next Harris City council meeting will be Monday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

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