Roads were the main issue discussed at the Harris City Council meeting on Aug. 12.

Of the residents in attendance, some didn’t want their road paved, others wanted their road graded more often and improved. Some thought their road had washboards, others thought the road was all sugar sand.

One of the topics on the agenda the council was to decide on was which roads would get gravel this year. There were five roads that were scheduled to be done. Also brought up in addition to those roads was 470th. Henry Gregoire indicated he has tried to grade that road, but the corduroy is popping up and the culvert is showing. Gregoire said that at the most he can move a quarter of an inch of gravel before he hits wood.

If the city gravels the five roads that are scheduled, then the remaining roads that haven’t been done will be graveled in 2020. That will complete the five-year plan. The city can then move forward, redoing those roads already done, and every road in Harris will be graveled at least once every five years.

One other road that was discussed was 420th (Sinkhole Road). It had just been done in 2018 and is already falling apart, mainly due to heavy use by commercial equipment. It was suggested that after the gravel is put on, the road should have chloride applied to it. That will help keep the binding material on the road. It was also suggested the road not be done now. It should be maintained as well as possible and in the spring the gravel and chloride should be applied. That would be the best cost effective way to maintain that particular road.

Then it came down to cost and what was available in the budget. The original five scheduled roads would be 2,845 cubic yards of gravel. The cost of the gravel is $13.30 per cubic yard. Adding the additional gravel for 470th would increase the cost. The total cost would be in excess of $40,000. The council approved adding the 470th to the list and authorized doing them all.

Proposed 2020 budget

The next item on the agenda was the proposed 2020 budget. The proposed increase is 5.5%. This will include $68,000 for street materials, such as gravel. The fire department did not have a final number because the cost of the lease on the 20 radios that the department uses has not been determined for 2020.

The proposed increase will be submitted in September to the Chisago County Treasurer for disbursement to the taxpayers of Harris. The final certified amount the taxpayers will be required to pay will not actually be determined until December. Between now and December, the council will review the items in the budget to see if anything can be reduced; the amount can go down, but not up, from the amount sent to the treasurer in September.

Road grader repairs

People Service addressed the council about the repairs needed to be done to the road grader. One of the parts that had to be dealt with was the brake accumulator. Originally the part was to cost $702. But RDO, the supplier, had sent the wrong part. The correct part has a cost of $1,351.

As the part is a hydraulic piston, a company that would rebuild the part was searched for. A company in Plymouth was located that would rebuild the piston for approximately $500. If the piston is so far gone that it cannot be rebuilt, the new part will be ordered so the grader can be put back into service.

Other city equipment

The condition of the equipment belonging to the city was reviewed. A number of parts or attachments needed to be welded. Paul Christianson of People Service suggested hiring a certified welder to come in and do all of the welding at one time. One piece of equipment that needed welding was a brush mower for the ditches. Some of the safety shields were off. Welding needed to be done to get the shields back on. Councilman Dan Scully was insistent that the mower would not be used until the shields were put back on. As the mower is needed now to mow ditches, rather than wait for a month to get a bid for all of the welding, resident Don Cardinal volunteered his ability as a welder to get the safety shields back on the mower so it can be put back into service.

Then what to do with the 1-ton truck was brought up again. Scully and Councilman Trever Williams are in agreement the vehicle needs to be replaced. People Service was able to get three bids to work on the truck to get it safe to use — not repaired and fixed for use this winter, but to be able to be driven safely. It was decided to award the bid to Russell Automotive because of the other work the company has done on Harris equipment and because the company had the lowest bid of $1,218. This did not include the cost of tires. People Service is going to check on the state bid for tires to see if they can be acquired cheaper.

Law enforcement

The council also reviewed the contract with the Chisago County Sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement for the city of Harris. This is extra time spent in the city in addition to the usual amount of time provided by the sheriff’s department countywide. The sheriff’s department will provide an additional 40 hours per month at the rate of $60.40 per hour. The only change between this contract and the last is the cost, and also that the contract is for one year instead of two.

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