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Wells council to interview four finalists

By Staff | Sep 16, 2012

The Wells City Council is going to be busy this week.

Two special meetings have been scheduled.

On Thursday, council members consider a conditional-use-permit (CUP) for a shed being built by Jerome and Marilyn Dulas in the residential area of 120 Half Moon Road.

The next day they’ll interview four finalists for the city administrator’s position.

The candidates include current Minnesota city administrator Sarah Friesen; Steven Bloom, Sauk Centre city administrator; Mark Baker of Holstein, Iowa; and Marc Dennison of Black Earth, Wis.

Friesen, Baker and Dennison were finalists when the Winnebago City Council hired current City Administrator Austin Bleess.

A four-member panel had narrowed the list to six, but the council wanted it trimmed to four.

The committee didn’t have any difficulty doing that.

“One has dropped out and another has taken a city administrator position with another city,” says interim City Administrator Brian Heck.

Council members have set aside 45 minutes for each interview beginning at 5 p.m. in the council chambers. Before that, a meet-and-greet the candidates with department heads and other city officials will begin at 4:15 p.m.

Heck says hopefully the council will be ready to make an offer by its Sept. 24 meeting.

The council will hold a public hearing beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to decide on the Dulases request for a CUP.

Resident Milt Peterson says before the council makes a decision he wants them to remember the tough time he had erecting a structure.

Peterson says he followed the proper channels, but the building remains unfinished because of a “stop work” order.

The Dulases also have stopped construction of their shed because it violates the city’s zoning ordinance.

After being denied a variance for the project, the Dulases applied for a CUP and it was approved by the Planning and Zoning Committee on Sept. 9.

“I don’t think the building belongs there, but we’re caught between a rock and a hard place,” says Steve Nowak, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee.

“They are a lot of things that went on and shouldn’t have. But, we need to move on,” he adds.

The committee’s unanimous approval, with Crystal Dulas abstaining, is only a recommendation to council members.

The permit would require the Dulases to have screening, such as, plants or shrubs, on the south side of the building; to make sure drainage does not effect neighbors; remove the old shed; and not use the building for commercial purposes.

In other business, the council approved a preliminary tax levy of $697,553 for 2013. That’s a 2.41 percent increase over last year.

“We tried to stay as close as we could to last year and what the council wanted,” says Heck.

“It’s not outrageous,” Mayor Ron Gaines says of the proposed hike.

Council members have until the end of December to complete and pass a budget. The proposed levy can be decreased but can not go above 2.41 percent.