Road repairs on the docket in Harris

The city of Harris is on the road again as it continues to move forward on an array of street repairs.

Some were dealt with on Monday, July 8; others were pushed forward to get exact costs of the projects.

The first dealt with was the restoration of 438th Street. A paving contractor was consulted to ascertain exactly what the city had to work with and what could be done. Test holes were drilled in the pavement and it was determined there is 3 inches of asphalt and then a layer of clay and sand, no gravel.

The paving contractor provided three options. The first is what the contractor thought was best. Short of removing everything and starting over, the suggestion was to patch all the holes with asphalt and bring in gravel to put on top, and then put another layer of asphalt over that. The contractor said that will improve the condition of the road and put the proper crown on it for correct drainage. The second option is to reclaim the asphalt — grind down what is there, bring in another three inches of gravel to mix with the tar and reshape the road. The last option is to tear out the remaining asphalt, cut the clay and sand down and bring in six inches of gravel, shaping the road.

City Engineer Charles Schwartz reviewed the options and agreed with the contractor that first proposal would be the best of the three. The council agreed and authorized this road to be repaired.

The next project dealt with was the intersection of Harder Avenue and 420th Street. A plan was put forth to pull in the berm that is now higher than the road bed on each side, cutting and folding it into the road. This would alleviate the drainage problem and would shape the ditches. This material would be loaded onto dump trucks and removed. The newly shaped road would then be re-graveled to put the proper crown on the road and improve the drainage.

To figure out the actual cost, it was decided to go out for bids on the cost of dump truck, front end loader and grader on an hourly basis. Also, the construction would not start until the new maintenance person is hired, as the operation must be monitored to make sure it is done correctly and with the correct amounts of gravel. Graveling the road before correcting the drainage would be a waste, though, as the gravel would wash away, the contractor noted. The council was concerned and wanted to make sure this project would be completed this year.

The last project was removing the two culverts at lift station 2 and replacing them. Bids had been obtained to remove the two culverts and replace them with an arched, 24-inch culvert that would have the same capacity. The sides of the road would then be rebuilt and paved. This also would require monitoring by the new maintenance person. This bid was awarded to the lowest bidder, Jensen Backhoe. Schwartz indicated that his firm is acquainted with Jensen Backhoe and has worked with them on projects in Stacy, where the contractor had satisfactory performance.

A request for a bid on sufficient gravel to accomplish these projects and gravel other roads was approved. Both outlying roads and those within the city would be graveled, depending on the cost of the gravel and how far it could be stretched.

In other news

• The Fire Department Relief Association was on site to present to the council a request to increase the pension benefit. Three proposals were presented. The proposals called for an increase of benefit of $50, $75 and $100. Oberloh and Associates, the city auditor, calculated the proposals. If the benefit were increased by $50, there would be no additional contribution by the city. The Relief Association receives, from the state, an amount of 2 percent of all the premiums on the property insurance that is paid by property owners in the fire department’s district. The balance of the required money is provided by investments of those funds.

Mayor Diane Miller expressed concern about the increase. Miller pointed out that although the increase of $50 would not require the city to contribute, the increase to $75 would. Miller said that the possible $75 increase would be pushing the limit of what the fund could handle. Should there be an aberration and the fund not be able to handle the increase, the city would be responsible for any shortage. It was decided to decline the request and revisit it next July.

• The city also approved an all-terrain vehicle ordinance that would set out rules, regulations and restrictions on the use of snowmobiles and recreational motor vehicles. It also established permitted track site requirements and what the set backs would be from property borders, residences and livestock structures.

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