Harris City Council briefs

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

Road graveling scale issue
Harris recently graveled some of its roads. It purchased a large quantity of gravel from Knife River.
Unfortunately, a problem arose — when the trucks were being loaded for the Harris project, initially the trucks were being weighed at the scale. The scale then issued a ticket with the amount of gravel delivered. In July, the system changed. The operator of the equipment loading the trucks weighed the gravel in a bucket, and it never went over the scale.
Public Works employee Alan Teich brought this to the attention of the operators at Knife River and told them that the city requires the loads delivered to Harris be weighed by the scale and a scale ticket issued.
On July 6, 7 and 10, there were not scale tickets. A letter was sent to Knife River requesting a representative attend the August City Council meeting to explain why the requested scale tickets were not provided by Knife River. After the discussion, the council would move forward with the approval to pay the invoices.
No one from Knife river attended the meeting. The council decided to pay half of the remaining invoices and send a second request to have a representative from Knife River attend the September meeting so the issue can be resolved.

Old Highway 61
Chisago County HRA/EDA director Nancy Hoffman, representing the Old Highway 61 Coalition/Foundation, presented to the council a request to help in funding the organization. The Old Highway 61 Coalition promotes the businesses and communities along Old Highway 61 from Wyoming north to Cloquet. It encompasses 16 cities, nine chambers of commerce, and three counties. It presently helps promote the local events and happenings. Many times matching funds are available from such entities as Explore Minnesota. But the initial funds have to be allocated before matching ones are awarded.
The Coalition has two types of sponsorships available to help promote the tourism efforts. The first is a basic or enhanced sponsorship, usually used by hospitality business. The Coalition includes the businesses on their website. The Coalition’s logo can be put on a business’s web page; clicking it will bring up the events in the area. Hoffman was asking the city to participate with a corporate sponsorship, which adds additional benefits such as having a photographer take pictures of Harris that the city would want on the Coalition’s web site. It was decided that this would be an important project to promote the area, and the council will discuss allocating the required funds during the net budget discussion.

Zoning change
An amendment to the general provisions under the city zoning codes was proposed and adopted. Section 154.04 was changed to prohibit persons from occupying or inhabiting structures which do not have working plumbing, heating, or electricity. It had come to the attention of the city that houses are being illegally occupied that do not have these basic facilities. Unless the ordinance was amended, the Chisago County Sheriff’s Department could not have the people removed.

New Sheriff’s Office
The Chisago County Sheriff presented a new contract to provide police services to Harris. The city contracts for 20 hours per month. The rate is increasing approximately 6 percent to $57.85 per hour. This will be discussed at the next budget meeting.

Fire department
The Fire Department is trying to recruit additional members. A discussion by the council ensued as to how to put the word out to get more applications from people who would be interested in being firefighters. It was noted that many departments are having the same problem filling their rolls.

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