Harris’ proposed levy up 6.9%

The preliminary proposed levy for the city of Harris for the 2013 budget will be sent to the Chisago County assessor in the amount of $500,000.

This reflects an increase of $32,500 in the general budget, but the amounts allocated to the Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) and the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) remain the same.

Th proposed levy is up 6.95 percent from last year.  It was stressed by both City Treasurer Maryls Balfany and the City Council Monday night, Sept. 10, that the final levy that will be approved in December can be less than this amount. It cannot be increased, however.

Councilman John Rossini reminded everyone that the Council will continue to try and reduce the amount of the budget between now and December.

Balfany asked if the Council wanted  to revisit the difference between contracting the lawn mowing or hiring a part time, seasonal employee.

Maintenance employee Jason Zastera has expressed a need for part-time help.  Hiring a seasonal employee, who in addition to helping Zastera could do the mowing, would meet both needs.

Councilor Judy Hammerstom said if they go back to having the City crew do the mowing, they the City has equipment maintenance and repair costs. She said contract mowing appeared to be more frugal.

When questioned, Balfany said that the city of Harris saw an increase in Local Government Aide (LGA) from the State.  The reserves are beginning to be replenished at the State level, so the amounts that had been held back in prior years are being sent again, she noted.

City Clerk Donna Heidelberger asked the Council about the proposed request to have American Legal update the Ordinance book. The cost would be between $900 to $1,500 , depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. This would update the Ordinance book in printed form, on the web site, and a disk.

The last time this was done was four years ago, so any ordinance or change to the ordinances in the last four year would not be in any of these formats, should someone be looking for guidance in Harris’ laws.

American Legal will allow the payment to be split into two payments, one in 2012 the other in 2013, but it does have to be budgeted for.

Because the Planning Commission is in the process of adopting four ordinances, which should be completed by the October council meeting, it was decided to table this request until the October meeting.

In other business:

• The Truth in Taxation meeting was set for Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.  If needed, a continuation of the meeting would be on Thursday, Dec.  6.  The final levy will be approved at the regular council meeting December 10.

• The contract for People Service to operate the WTP and WWTF is expiring.  The Council discussed the procedure to obtain bids from other companies to compare what else is on the market.  The committee that is handling the Request For Proposals for the WTP and WWTF will hold a workshop with the Council on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. to put together what should be included in the RFP.  At the October meeting, the RFP will be approved and notice will be sent to People Service that their contract will be renegotiated and that the City is interested in their response to the RPF.

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