Brett Grabau, an engineer with Stantec Consulting Services of Rochester, attended last Tuesday night's Harmony City Council meeting. He sought approval for a change order for the First Avenue Southwest project as well as approval for his company to complete the design and specifications for the new well project.

First, Grabau explained that the city of Harmony had requested to change the water main pipe material from Duct Iron Pipe (DIP) to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe. He explained that the change order will result in a $7,000 savings for the city of Harmony. The council approved the change order.

Grabau explained that the project should be getting underway during the week of June 16. He explained the contractor was finishing up projects in Preston and would then be starting in Harmony mid-week.

He also assured the council that the engineers and the contractors are aware of the Fourth of July festivities in the park and they will work to make sure the park is accessible for the celebration.

"We'll assess the progress on the Tuesday of that week to see where we are at," Grabau said. "At that point we will create a plan so the road will be able to function for the Fourth."

In another matter, Grabau requested that the city approve hiring Stantec for design and construction services for Well Number Three. The city received a DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant in the amount of $250,000 in matching funds.

The remainder of the project financing is anticipated to come from a low interest loan through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Drinking Water Revolving Fund, through the Public Facilities Authority (PFA). To be ready to solicit the funds, Grabau explained the city has requested to be placed on the MDH intended use plan (IUP), which will be published in late September.

Because the DEED grant expires in September of 2015, the engineers are proposing that the city start with the design process so that the project is ready once the IUP is published and the MDH reviews the plans for certification.

By doing so, Grabau said, the city will be in the best possible position to utilize both the anticipated funding sources.

Grabau said Stantec would be responsible for reviewing the geology, well logs of the existing city wells and the current operations. It would also prepare the preliminary design of Well Number Three and develop the contract documents for bidding, including advertising, bidding, tabulating bids and recommending awards. The project will also include the construction of a pump house, which Stantec will also design and develop the documents for bidding.

Grabau said the cost for the services outlined would be a lump sum fee of $68,000. Reimbursable expenses will include mileage and printing/reproduction costs and are estimated to be no more than $2,500.

Construction services will be billed on an hourly basis during the construction phase of the well and pump house, which are estimated to be around $35,000, plus the reimbursable expenses estimated at no more than $3,200.

The council approved the proposal for design and construction services as presented by Grabau.

Grabau said the total construction costs for the well and pump house will be around $570,000. They anticipate starting construction in October or November if financing goes through as expected.

Meeting room

Ralph Beastrom, a member of the Harmony Area Historical Society, Habitat for Humanity steering committee and the Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce, approached the council about the use of the former Habitat for Humanity office located in the visitors' center. That space has been empty since Megan Grebe, Habitat's community coordinator, moved her office to her home in Peterson.

Beastrom explained, however, that the local Habitat steering committee would still like to use the room for meetings and as a location for special events, such as the upcoming Harmony Hustle registration and this fall's Taste of the Trail events.

However, Beastrom also proposed, the space could be used as a meeting room for the other organizations already in the building, The Harmony Area Historical Society and the Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Harmony Area Community Foundation.

He also noted that the historical society is accumulating more and more items in its collection, which is quickly outgrowing its current storage space in the southwest part of the building.

"Our focus is changing," Beastrom said. "We are putting things together to create Harmony's history."

He added that several key volunteers are indexing the items that have been donated to the historical society. Beastrom said several of those items could be displayed in the extra meeting room as well.

"We'd like to do some historical displays around the perimeter of the room," he said. "Then we'd keep the interior space open for meetings and a multi-purpose space." He also said visitors could use the space, by reservation, to do research if needed.

Beastrom also explained the organizations had applied for and received a grant from the Harmony Area Community Foundation in the amount of $3,000, which would cover the costs of painting the room, installing new carpet and building a few display shelves.

Illg explained that he felt the council should go down to the visitors' center and see what is there already. "I think it's important for you to have an understanding of what's going on down there," he said.

The council agreed to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, June 17, at 5 p.m. so Beastrom and other representatives from the organizations located there could show the council their spaces and the proposed uses for the meeting room.

Animal ordinance

A brief discussion was held regarding the city's animal ordinance. Tammy Whitehead was on the agenda to speak to the number of animals a resident is allowed before one must file for a kennel license. Currently, the ordinance states that a resident can only have three animals per household within city limits and kennels are only allowed in commercial or industrial zones.

Whitehead did not attend the meeting, but Illg informed the council that she owns three cats and a dog, which exceeds the limit of animals allowed. She had indicated to Illg that she would like the council to reconsider the cap on the number of animals allowed.

The council members did not indicate a willingness to change the ordinance and asked Illg to inform Whitehead that she had to find a new home for at least one of her animals or be in violation of the ordinance.

Maintenance report

Chris Johnson from the maintenance department updated the council on the activities of the past month, noting he and Brian Johnson and Terry Bigalk have been busy filling cracks in the street, street sweeping and preparing for the upcoming seal coating on streets.

Johnson also noted he's been speaking to a vendor about trading in the city's tractor for a newer model. He said the current tractor was new in 1999 and has about 4,300 hours on it. He anticipates presenting a couple of quotes at the July meeting for the council to review.

EDA report

Deb Swenson reported on the Economic Development meeting, stating that The Overland Group, which had been in discussion with the city about purchasing a lot in the industrial park, has entered into a purchase agreement with a private individual. The costs associated with developing the lot the developers desired was prohibitive, Illg explained.

She also noted that Emily Ellis, the director of the Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce, had resigned due to taking another job. "She's done a good job for us," Swenson said as she thanked Ellis for the work she had done for the city of Harmony.

The chamber has also hired a television station to create two new commercials for the city of Harmony. The commercials will air in the Iowa and Wisconsin markets and will be paid for, in part, by a grant from Explore Minnesota.

The chamber also provided an update on the Fourth of July celebration, which will include an old fashioned carnival, the parade and fireworks, among many other festivities throughout the three-day weekend.

Library report

Lynn Mensink reported the new carpet has been installed in the library and the shelving and books have been returned to their locations.

In a related matter, Illg and Johnson explained that the north library wall had been leaking as the snow melted this spring. They hope to remove the stucco on the exterior, fix the flashing and then add siding. Illg said if the shrubs on the patio are removed, the snow could be removed more easily during the winter so the snow doesn't melt back into the wall. An estimated cost for the project was $2,700.

Other business

The council changed the August council meeting to 8:01 p.m. on Aug. 12 due to the primary election being held that day. Meetings cannot be held during the time polls are open, therefore the council delayed the meeting until the polls close rather than changing the day of the meeting.

Kyle Morem was sworn in as the new council member, replacing Jim Bakken who is moving out of town this summer. He was appointed to fill in Bakken's committee assignments as well, including Street and Utilities, Building and Park Board.

Morem also requested the city consider finding space to store the fire department's trailer within the city shop. He said continuing to store it outside in the elements would start to show wear on the trailer. Johnson noted that he felt there would be room if a garage door was moved, allowing easier access.

A liquor license was approved for Wheeler's Bar and Grill.

Election judges for the primary and general election were approved. They are Richard Houtkooper, Bonnie Bakken, Jerome Illg, R. Dan Tieffenbacher, Eileen Schansberg, Dennis DeKeryel, Linda Polesky, Gerald Johnson, Allan Dahl, Jerome Grehl, Mary Ann Johnson, Marie Lou Zombory, Joy Johnson, Rebecca Hoff and Marilyn Davis.