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Wells says no to new director

By Staff | Dec 18, 2011

Jeremy Germann

The money is in next year’s budget to hire a new community development director, but the Wells City Council is in no hurry to fill the vacancy.

In fact, the council unanimously voted Monday night to eliminate the position.

“The position we have now is not what the city needs. We do not see it as a full-time position,” says Council member Ashley Seedorf.

A three-member ad hoc committee consisting of Seedorf, Council member Ann Marie Schuster and City Administrator Jeremy Germann has been studying the past couple of months whether a new director should be hired.

The city has been without an economic development director since

Chris Elvebak resigned last June.

Before doing away with the director’s position, city officials sought advice from the League of Minnesota Cities.

Schuster says she strongly believes the city needs to hire someone but the council must first decide the type of services needed.

“What I hear from those on the EDA and HRA boards is we need someone with more marketing skills,” says Schuster. “It’s rethinking what we want.”

Germann and city staff have handled the duties, and also hired outside consultants for assistance.

“The critical services are being provided by staff,” Germann says.

The ad hoc committee is expected to develop a new job description that will spell out duties and responsibilities.

“There’s no timetable by when this needs to be done. It will be presented to the council and fine tuned,” Germann says.

In a legal matter, the city administrator told the council he will be meeting with assistant City Attorney Randel Bichler to sign paperwork regarding demolition of a grain bin owned by Frank Bros. Feed and Grain Inc.

“He’s saying we haven’t given him due process. We have to answer his complaint,” Germann says.

The city has declared the structure a public nuisance and is seeking to get a court order to have it torn down.

So far, $1,341 has been spent on legal fees and $1,000 on an engineering study to get the owner to remove the grain bin.

In other business, the council approved a 2011 tax levy of $681,109.

The amount is a 2.5 percent increase over last year, but is less than the preliminary maximum levy hike of 6.02 percent.

Despite having its state aid reduced, Germann says the city is OK financially.

“We’re on target to have a balanced budget by the end of the year,” he says.