Harris preparing to take on 3 county roads

The following actions and discussion points were addressed at the Oct. 21 Harris City Council meeting.

Roads were once again on the agenda at the Harris City Council meeting. This time it had to do with the county turning back roads to the city.

It is part of a 20-year plan in which the county has designated specific roads to be transferred to city and townships to maintain and repair. The three roads in line to become city roads are county roads 61, 58 and 59.

Councilman Randy Carlson and City Clerk Joanne Dargay toured the roads in September with County Engineer Joe Triplett. Problems that were noted during the inspection were some ditches and culverts needed work, trees had grown over the roads and there was a question as to the depth of gravel on each road.

On one of the roads, Carlson said the road bed was lower than the ditches.

Chisago County Commissioner Mike Robinson took time to visit with the council concerning this issue. Robinson said he was not in favor of this program. The townships must have a joint meeting with the County Board before the roads can be transferred. With cities, no joint meeting is required. Robinson also noted most of the roads that were marked for turn back are located in his district.

Robinson said that the city needs to take action; he noted letters from the council to the county engineer and the County Board might do some good. He also suggested the roads be inspected carefully and every problem with them is noted.

Robinson said the county should correct those problems before the responsibility is transferred to the city.

In other news

• The city has a new engineer. Mark Statz from Stantec has assumed the engineering duties. Charles Schwartz, the prior representative from Stantec, left to accept a position at another engineering firm.

• Two residents requested the city waive the late charges on their water bills. Both were only slightly late. It was decided not to waive either fee because it would be a bad precedent to set, council members said.

• When a mail delivery person was on her route, the personal vehicle that was being used caught fire. The Harris Fire Department responded with a grass rig; Harris then called North Branch Fire Department under the mutual aid agreement. The delivery person contested the bill she received for the cost of responding should have been from North Branch because that fire department sent more responders.

Fire Chief Trevor Williams explained the bill comes from the Fire District where the incident occurred. Part of the mutual aid agreement is that the department that responds from out of the area does not bill for the call.

• The last city hazard mitigation plan that was completed was in 2008. Williams said it is necessary to update the plan because if there is a disaster, without the plan current and in effect, FEMA funds may not be available to offset the costs.

Mayor Diane Miller suggested organizing a workshop, sometime after the first of the year, to address the issue.

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