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Douglas Drive residents want Harrison City water

By Genine Hopkins

Calling themselves the “Douglas Drive Committee,” a group of citizens who reside on Douglas Drive on the East side of Budd Lake received an estimate to extend the watermain, connecting them to Harrison City water supply.  Harrison’s City Council read the estimate into record, sparking a discussion on the potential controversy that may result from moving forward on this project.

Discussion took place at the Harrison City Council’s regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013.
Acting on a request from the residents on Douglas Drive, the city requested Fleis & Vandenbrink Engineering, Inc., to prepare a cost estimate.  The Douglas Drive Committee members stated they had unanimous support from residents, but were having trouble reaching seasonal property owners for their input, something they were told they needed if they desired to continue to pursue connecting to the water supply.
“We tried to connect residents (on the East Budd Lake line) years back,” stated Harrison Mayor Stacy Stocking, “This meeting room attendance spilled outside and the answer was a resounding no.  You’ll need to make sure those property owners (on Douglas Drive) are on board; all will have to be in favor as of right now.  I feel it’s in the best interest of the City to create a committee to discuss this further.”
Fleis & Vandenbrink’s estimate projected a total budget of $202,900, an average of $10,678.95 cost per user (defined as 19 residences) with the potential annual cost with a 10 year financing at five percent interest of $1,359.19.  The project would extend the watermain from Lighthouse Drive to North Grant Avenue to Douglas Drive; if a cross-country route is found to be feasible the cost could be reduced to approximately $25,000 total project cost.
A special committee for increasing water service was created on a motion by Council member Don Kolander, supported by Council member Chris Damvelt.
Other important issues discussed included a request from Harrison Community Schools to close Spruce Street between Fourth and Fifth streets during home football games.  The atmosphere at first was in favor of allowing this closure, with Damvelt stating the area was “an accident waiting to happen.”
Unfortunately liability issues arose surrounding who would be responsible for closing the street and storing the equipment needed to prevent drivers from entering the area.  Council member Joni Ashcroft felt that there were issues with entrance area line ups spilling into the street, but that it could be solved by forcing the line to run parallel with Spruce. Although it was discussed that providing HCS with the barricades, placing the responsibility on the schools for set up and tear down, the board voted to deny the HCS request on a motion by Damvelt supported by Kolander.
A first reading of the ordinance proposed by the City of Harrison Planning Commission was made.

Ordinance 35.102, Title II, Chapter 16 would be restated to include a 4.C provision that states:
In the event that any building or structure is blighted by destruction or partial destruction because of fire, wind, or other natural or manmade disaster, all access to said blighted structure shall be immediately closed up by use of boards or other appropriate techniques.  The safety of the premises shall be assured by the property owner immediately after any fire, wind, or other natural disaster.
Discussion by the council on the proposed changes prompted the question of how prudent is immediate and the ability of a property owner to comply in such a expedited fashion.  With no public comment at this time, the ordinance is set to be given its second reading and put to council vote  at the October 3, 2013 meeting.
An intergovernmental contract for Harrison Fire Department, and the Fire Departments of Surrey, Garfield, Lincoln and Clare was presented to the board for approval.  The contract helps each department save money for training.  On a motion by Council member David Rowe, supported by Council member Kolander, the contract was approved.
The City Council voted to pay off the USDA loan on a Fire Truck chassis early, at a pay off cost of $79,410.42.  The early payoff would save the city money in interest and Mayor Stocking stated he felt that since the city had the money to do so, early payoff was advised.
Department of Public Works Superinendent Steve Phelps stated the department received zero complaints during hydrant flushing this season, having changed the time to evening hours.  Phelps told the board that the Little Long Lake manhole project has been completed and a walk through would take place over the week.
The Fire Department fielded 219 calls for the year so far, and Fire Chief Pat Agin informed the council that Clare’s Fire Department brought a smaller, 77 ft. Quint vehicle to the area for a “test drive” at Surrey House and White Pines.  The City of Clare was able to procure use of the smaller and more maneuverable vehicle through contacts and was gracious enough to allow Harrison’s Fire Department to take advantage in sharing the time they had the vehicle.  No plans have been made by either department to purchase said vehicle.

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