HMU to end ‘hero’ pay; open doors by appointment

    HARLAN -- Harlan Municipal Utilities will now open its doors by appointment for customers as a start to return to what will be a “new” normal business operation.
    In other action taken at its May 28 teleconference board meeting, “hero” pay of an additional $3 per hour was discontinued May 31.  Board members said with other businesses re-opening, and some even cutting hours or reducing pay during the pandemic, they felt an obligation to return to a normal payroll situation as well.
    On the financial side, CEO Ken Weber and staff did a review of income and expenses to date and projected year-end (June 30) figures to miss budget.
    Weber said revenues are expected to be eight percent below budget and expenses to be down 9.2 percent.  He said mild weather and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on customer usage were partial causes.  Not charging penalties on past due amounts, not disconnecting services for non-pay and extension of the LIHEAP “low income home energy assistance program” were also reasons for the revenue changes.
    The board also authorized agreements for engineering services regarding the addition of another filtration layer in the pressure filter No. 2 at the water treatment plant.  Plagued with problems since first opened, the filtration system apparently was installed with a key layer missing and this work will be an effort to see if an additional layer will solve the problem.
    The work will be done only on Filter No. 2 while keeping Filter No. 1 on-going to avoid loss of service to the community.  Should the work be successful, Filter No. 1 will have the additional layer added as well.
    The meeting ended with the board going into closed session to discuss items that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent.  After closed session, the motion carried to move forward with litigation regarding the water treatment plant.


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