Harlem officials voted on Feb. 14 to make several changes such as raising water rates for its subscribers outside the city, passing along the three-year rate increase from Columbia County.
The base water rate for residents outside the city, up to 2,000 gallons, will rise from $20 to $22. People who use 2,001 to 20,000 gallons will pay $5.46 per thousand gallons, as opposed to $5.20; and the cost for more than 20,001 gallons will rise from $7 to $7.35 per thousand gallons. The changes will go into effect April 1.
The city purchases 95 percent of its water from the county's Water Department, approximately 600,000 to 700,000 gallons per day, Harlem Mayor Scott Dean said. County officials instituted the 15 percent rise for three years in late 2004 to cover its infrastructure costs.
Though the plan is to pass along the 5 percent increase during the next two years, Dean said if the water department is paying for itself, the rise might not come about.
"We'll see how the numbers look at the end of the year," Dean said. "If we don't have to (raise rates again), we won't."
City officials also approved moving ahead on two renovation projects in the city.
Since most administrative offices and employees were moved to the city's new administrative building in late 2004, plans to renovate the city hall are underway. The city council agreed to send the renovations out for bid.
The project will include pushing the back wall out about 10 feet to the edge of the back porch, City Manager Jean Dove said. The original doors and windows will be reused. The half-walls and permanent city council furniture will be removed and replaced with movable furniture so the space can be used as a larger meeting space.
"We're sending it out to bid," Dove said, adding that the project cost is not yet known, but will be paid for by special purpose local option sales tax funds. "We hope to get started within 60 days."
Harlem's City Park will soon include a walking track and football/soccer field. City officials asked Harlem High School civics students in the spring of 2004 to design the track as a project. The track could be completed in one or two phases, adding a half-mile of track at a time, depending on cost estimates that have not been received, Dean said.
"I would love to have it done by this summer," Dean said.
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