Harris City Council briefs

The following actions and discussion points were addressed at the April 10 Harris City Council meeting.
Water tower cleaning
The city put out requests for companies to submit bids to clean and inspect the water tower. That work was last done in 2009.
City Clerk Joanne Dargay requested bids from nine companies and received replies from six. Some wanted to drain the tower, do the cleaning and inspect a dry tank.
One offered to do the inspection and cleaning by using a diver and leaving the water in the tank — the benefit of that wet cleaning is the tower would not have to be out of commission as long.
With that method, during the cleaning and inspection, although the water tower would be offline, the water would not be shut down to residents. Instead, the pump would continually supply water to the city lines.
Paul Christianson of PeopleService, the company that operates the Harris water treatment plant, recommended a new pump and motor be installed before the cleaning and inspection be done. While the water tower is offline, the pump would be running 24 hours a day instead of the usual two hours a day. The pump taken out could be rebuilt and retained as a backup.
Representatives from one of the companies that bid on the project were in attendance and explained what their inspection and cleaning would do. Shawn Mulhern, president and CEO, explained KLM Engineering has been dealing with water towers since it has been in business. When KLM does an inspection, a detailed report of its findings is supplied to the city. KLM gives an estimate of what any remedies will cost and how urgent the repair is. KLM would identify issues with the water tower in relation to codes and OSHA requirements. Tests would be done for lead and chromium.
KLM said, with the report, the city would be able to put bids out for those items that need to be resolved and know how much the work should cost.
NB Schools referendum
Deb Henton, North Branch Area Public Schools superintendent, and Kirby Ekstrom, NBAPS School Board chairman, approached the council to explain the upcoming school referendum. Three questions will be presented to the voters. The first will be for $59 million for maintenance issues. The second question is to upgrade and expand gymnasiums. The last question will be for an upgrade to technology and will be for $500,000 per year for 10 years. Henton said the district was told that the average home in the district is valued at $175,000. If all the questions are approved, it would add approximately $9.50 per month in property taxes to a house of that value.
Easement concerns
A number of people approached the council concerning an easement issue. The issue, which affects residents along Stark Road Lane, is that the road that five property owners use to access their homes is not located in the easement that was set out on the properties for the road.
The discrepancy has become a problem because one of the properties was to be sold, and the title company would not insure the title to the property because of the access issue. The residents were asking the council to assist in resolving the issue.
The majority of the residents wish to leave the road where it is and not move it to where the actual easement is.
City Engineer Chuck Schwartz suggested those parties affected contact an attorney to resolve the issue amicably amongst themselves and then bring a petition to the city to change the easement. Schwartz indicated that a land surveyor, an engineer and a real estate attorney would probably be required to resolve the issue. Schwartz stressed that this is an issue amongst the residents along the road and not a city issue.

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