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Wells OKs delay in payments

By Staff | Apr 15, 2012

It was just a formality when the Wells City Council approved giving the owner of a meat-processing plant more time to repay a loan and create jobs.

On Monday, without any discussion, council members voted unanimously to approve the extensions recommended by the state’s Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED).

“The extensions aren’t infinite. Usually the state does it only once,” says Chuck Pettipiece of Pettipiece and Associates.

Pettipiece was hired by the city to monitor progress of the Singleteary Food Solutions project after their community development director resigned.

The state must now amend an original agreement with Steve Singleteary and it must be signed by city officials.

Singleteary will now have until April 30, 2013, to add 53 jobs. Meeting the employment goal reduces his loan payable to the city by $100,000 to $400,000.

Also, loan payments to the city’s Economic Development Authority will begin in December, not next month.

Pettipiece would not say if the city must repay the loan or a portion of it if Singleteary is unable to or the project fails.

“I’m not even thinking about that. We’re not there yet. There is a whole legal process that would have to be followed,” he says.

City Administrator Jeremy Germann says Singleteary’s monthly payments for 10 years are $4,713 until he creates 53 jobs. At that point the amount reduces to $3,563.

In addition to the $500,000 in state funding, Singleteary received $150,000 from the Wells EDA and $100,000 given by the county’s EDA to the city for the project.

EDA board chair Brad Heggen says none of those funds need to be repaid and no conditions needed to be met to obtain the money.

In other business, the council accepted the resignation of animal control officer Robert Waack.

In his resignation letter to the council, Waack cited conflicts with Police Chief Jim Ratelle several times as the reason for stepping down effective April 1.

Germann says he will research whether the council should fill the position or contract services with the county.

He expects to have a recommendation by the next council meeting on April 23.