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Wells to decide on CD position

By Staff | Aug 28, 2011

Jeremy Germann

Projected state aid cuts for Wells in 2012 may not have any bearing whether city officials hire a new community development director.

“The numbers I’m using balance our budget for next year,” says City Administrator Jeremy Germann.

“The council will have to determine if economic development is an essential service that helps keep our community viable,” he adds.

Despite a reduction of more than $204,000 in local government aid, Germann has earmarked about $61,000 in salary and benefits to fill the director’s position.

To do that, Germann has trimmed capital outlay by $100,000 and refinanced a couple of bonds to save about $50,000.

In addition, turning down the pool’s water temperature by 2 degrees and installation of a new boiler at City Hall are both expected to have savings of $10,000.

A vacancy was created when Chris Elvebak resigned last June. Since that time, the city administrator and staff have been handling the duties.

“Everybody has rolled up their sleeves and picked up some extra work,” Germann says. “My primary goal has been to make sure everything is being done. I don’t see any areas that have suffered.”

In addition to reporting to the city’s Economic Development Authority board, the director also works with the Housing Redevelopment Authority and Planning and Zoning committee. Germann says private consultants have been hired to assist with some projects, such as conditional use permits.

Council members will have until December, when the budget must be approved, to decide what they want to do.

“By then we will have been without a director for six months. They (council) will be able to see what’s going well and what needs improvement,” he says. “Their decision won’t be a knee-jerk reaction.”

Germann cautions city officials need to keep their options open because of the state’s continuing budget problems.

“There may not be a permanent solution,” he says.

An alternative may be what the city is currently doing, using outside consultants when needed.

“If we don’t hire someone there have been plenty of parties that have made it known they would like to bid on it. That includes Faribault County Development Corporation,” he says.