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Hartford weekly update by Steve Volkert

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Administrators Update: RFP’s for health insurance advisors are due today. One goal of mine is to make every attempt to maintain our benefit levels without increasing costs to the staff. One way we are doing this is to review all options for our insurance advisors and see if we can get this service for less. Overall, health insurance costs normally increase 4-8% annually based on claim and premium costs. Our goal is to get the entire staff to become active in reducing claim costs and amount of claims through routine check-ups and health coaching. Health care costs will continue to be our biggest challenge in balancing an annual budget under expenditure restraint.

Property Assessment Open Book: Wednesday and Thursday was Open Book for property owners which wanted to contest or were questioning their most recent property assessment. Just under two dozen residents appeared before the representative of Accurate Appraisals. We only had one minor disturbance during the two days.

Keep in mind that assessments going up is expected when houses in the City are selling for sizable increases over assessed value. Many of the newer homes in Hartford were selling for $30,000+ over assessed value. Much like the rest of the region, the demand for houses for sale greatly outpaces the inventory. When houses sell for more, comparable houses will likewise see an increase in assessed value.

Accurate Appraisals will not review their cases and render a final recommendation to the board of review which takes place in August.

Aquatic Center Update: Thanks to warm, dry weather, attendance at the pool has continued to see numbers above 900+ on a daily basis. One of the new attractions in the new pool is water walking which takes place around the noon hour in the lazy river as individuals attempt to walk against the current.

Hwy. 83 Reconstruction Project: For the week of July 25: The contractor will continue to grade and prepare the sidewalk and driveway areas along the roadway between S. Main St. and E. Lincoln Ave. They have also started working on the sidewalk south of E. Lincoln Ave. Residents will not have immediate access to driveways while the contractor places the new concrete. Everyone understands this continues to be a very inconvenient time and the contractor is asking for patience from everyone affected by this construction as the contractor works to complete the work as quickly and safely as possible.

The contractor will continue to work on S. Main St. between Hwy. 60 and Branch St. The underground contractor has completed all of their work in this section. During the week of July 25, the general contractor will be grading this block and preparing it for pavement. The goal is to pave one lane of this block on Friday, July 29. The contractor is also planning to work on Saturday, July 30 to prepare the second lane for paving. If the first lane pavement gains its strength, the contractor would like to pave the second lane of Monday, August 1st. This schedule is all dependent on weather and is subject to change. The contractor will work to keep one lane open through this block to access businesses and the parking lot.

Also during the week of July 25, the contractor will continue work at the intersection of E. Monroe Ave. There is a lot of work at this intersection and it will be completed in phases in order to keep the intersection open to traffic as much as possible. Traffic patterns through the intersection will change as work progresses through each phase. Temporary asphalt has been installed in order to maintain traffic through the intersection by shifting traffic to the temporary pavement. Traffic signals have been removed at the intersection and traffic will be controlled with a four-way stop during the construction at this intersection. The contractor has completed the water main and storm sewer work at this intersection and along E. Monroe Ave. The contractor has installed several areas of new pavement and curb & gutter and will continue grading and paving portions of the intersection.

As always, these schedules are subject to change depending on weather conditions.

Wheelock Avenue Construction: For the week of July 25: The paving contractor is scheduled to place the new asphalt pavement on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Once the paving is complete, the landscaping contractor will be scheduled to come in and repair the disturbed turf areas.

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