Continued infrastructure upgrades needed as city grows

HARRINGTON — Although Harrington hopes to soon see more residents within its borders, officials say the city is in dire need of additional water and sewer capacity throughout the town.

“We’ve finished the Dorman Street upgrade which was a capacity issue, and we’ve covered nearly two-thirds of the I and I [inflow and infiltration] project of the city which means we’ve inspected and camera’d that much and made necessary changes to lines,” City Manager Terry Tieman said of recent water and sewer work completed in the city of Harrington.

To continue upgrading the city in response to more growth, she said she hopes the city and its residents will approve a project totaling $5,645,025.

“The impact on the annual operating budget will be $31,028 which will be covered by existing revenues,” she added. “We’re getting $5 million worth of work done and it’s costing us $31,028 a year. That’s a very good move.”

The cost savings stem from more than $2 million in loan forgiveness offered by DNREC, for a loan not to exceed $1,866,100 also from DNREC and $200,000 in grant funds from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The city of Harrington also recently refinanced other debt service thanks to a referendum last year.

The project will allow for upgrades to city water and sewer lines around town, as well as a new well, water tower and land for those purchases.

“The main goal of all of our projects is to create lines that are reliable,” Ms. Tieman said during the recent city council meeting. “It will help mitigate brown water issues. Some, not all of them, but some. Someone came to the city and wants to build 379 houses. Once we get houses to this level, it won’t sustain it if the capacity issues are not addressed.”

An additional well and tower is also needed as officials anticipate growth.

Three wells are regularly in use by the city along with a fourth well that is used only in emergencies as it “takes on sand.”

The wells are all located in one spot: near the railroad tracks.

“It has a lot to do with consistent pressure. If we have a [railroad] spill, those wells could be affected,” she said, adding that the city is looking to add another well in another location for both security and capacity reasons.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity that we’ve been given. And then your water/sewer lines will be where you’ve wanted them,” she said to council members during the meeting.

Public hearings for the USDA and DNREC portions of the project will be held Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Council member pay

Harrington City Council members have docked their own pays after receiving some checks that didn’t match their understanding of what the pay should look like.

“My understanding of council pay is if we show up, it should be one night’s pay,” Harrington Mayor Anthony Moyer said.

Instead, council members have been paid per meeting regardless of how many occurred in one night per city policy.

Mayor Moyer explained his disgust after receiving a check that included at least $150 for one night’s worth of meetings which involved two public hearings and a regular council meeting.

All council members were present for the meeting to discuss possible payment options except newcomer Dean Helsel who was absent.

Although several payment options were presented during the meeting, council members present ultimately agreed on a payment of $50 per night, regardless of the number of meetings. Council members will be paid quarterly.

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