Harvard budget up for vote next week

HARVARD – The city will look to add a dump truck to its aging fleet and replace equipment at its wastewater treatment plant.

Those two expenditures are among the most notable on Harvard’s fiscal 2013 budget, which the city will vote on Tuesday.

“Those were the two top priorities,” City Administrator Dave Nelson said. “Everything else kind of fell into place.”

The city has budgeted for a second 1-ton dump truck for its Public Works Department to ease the burden on a 23-year-old truck.

The city has budgeted $165,000 for new equipment toward the wastewater treatment plant. The money will go toward replacing a pre-treatment auger.

Overall, the $9.92 million budget for the fiscal year that starts May 1 is balanced.

“There’s virtually nothing new. No new services or anything of the such,” Nelson said. “We’re replacing equipment that’s 30 years old. ... We’re getting to things that we wanted to do five years ago, but the money wasn’t there with the economy.”

During the worst of the recession, the city was operating on “less than a maintenance budget,” Nelson said.

“The cash flow is improving almost three-fold from where it was,” he said. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel.”

The city also will use MFT funds to resurface up to 20 blocks of roadway this spring.

New leadership in the Parks and Recreation Department wants to expand swimming pool hours and offer more programs for adults and youth in the coming year.

But Nelson noted that while the city is on a slow financial incline, things would change in a hurry if the city’s revenue stream from the state was frozen or reduced, as state officials have discussed in years past. He said that at that point, “You’re looking at police cuts.”

“I mean that’s the only thing left,” Nelson said of what that would mean for the city. “We just got another public works guy; that would probably disappear.”

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