Harris City Council briefs

The following actions and discussion points were addressed at the July 14 Harris City Council meeting. 

Grader purchase possible 

The city of Harris continues to move closer to purchasing an updated grader. As one was being considered, the council put a request for bids. The original seller, Ziegler Caterpillar, submitted the bid on its 2000 140H grader with 8,787 hours on it. In addition, RDO provided two John Deere graders for consideration: a 2005 John Deere 110CH with 3,576 hours and a 2004 John Deer 772CH with 7,050 hours.

The problem came when none of the three graders exactly met the bid. The bid called for a six-cylinder diesel engine with a minimum of 600 cubic inch displacement. Neither of the John Deeres had that large of an engine. One John Deere was four-wheel drive and the other was six. The bid called for 17.5-by-25-inch tires, front and rear, and both John Deeres had smaller tires. The bid also called for a transmission with eight forward and eight reverse speeds; the Caterpillar only had six reverse speeds. As none of the graders met the specifications exactly, it opened the door for consideration of all of them.

Both representatives for each seller, Ziegler and RDO, expressed the opinion that the best interests of Harris was to do what worked best for the city. The Ziegler representative pointed out that Ziegler had been holding this particular grader for Harris since April, and that the two submitted by RDO were smaller graders than the 140H. If the city was interested in smaller graders, Ziegler has smaller Caterpillars available for them to view. The RDO representative said that the prices on the John Deeres were less and would work well for what the city wanted.

The City Council noted that after the bids were opened, the council has 30 days to decide which unit to purchase. The council directed the city maintenance worker, Jason Zastera, to view each unit and prepare a comparison for the council, so it can compare each one to the other. Should Zastera have a comparison earlier than the next council meeting, the council was open to holding a special session.

Discussion on road maintenance 

The next item on the agenda was tied into the purchase of the grader and the need to act quickly: a discussion about how to address road maintenance. The first item on the list of what to fix was three culverts. As there were sufficient funds in the budget to cover the cost, all three were approved. The culverts are located on 460th, 470th and 475th streets.

There were four roads for consideration to have paved. Because of the cost, the council was aware that not all of them could be done this year. Therefore, the council compared the cost of paving to what could be done with the purchase of gravel and what roads could have the gravel updated. At first, it was thought that the best move would be to gravel the 10 worst roads. But that viewpoint changed as Georgia Avenue needed to be repaired so it would not wash out with every rain.

One of the main roads considered for gravel is Old Sink Hole Road. It is also the most costly. The possibility of only working on half of Old Sink Hole Road was considered, but the council had to decide which half would receive repairs. The other half would be on top of the list next year. It was resolved to pave Georgia Avenue and do only the five worst roads, including all of Old Sink Hole Road.

Little free library

Chris Dupslaff approached the council and requested to be allowed to build a small Little Free Library at School House Park. It would house children’s books. In this system, users who take a book from the Little Free Library have to put in a book to replace it. The location at School House Park was chosen because the Dupslaffs live close by and could monitor the structure. The council approved the request.

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