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Wanted: aerial fire truck

By Staff | Mar 15, 2015

It was in with the new at the latest Wells City Council meeting.

The council received a resignation from former member Ashley Seedorf during their February meeting and wasted no time finding someone to fill the vacant seat.

Steve Burns, of Wells, took the oath of office last Monday night and was officially appointed as the new member of the Wells City Council.

Burns had served on the Wells City Council from 2005-2012.

After filling the vacant council spot, the members moved on to other business.

“We need a new aerial truck. Ours is very old and almost beyond repair,”?city administrator Robin Leslie said.

The city has been talking about replacing the aerial fire truck for quite awhile, however, they wanted to look at their options.

“I have been pulling some numbers together,” Leslie said. “So we received examples of what a lease payment would look like and what a bond payment looks like.”

The city is looking at buying a used aerial truck to replace their current 1970 model.

“With a bond, there is some up front cost, but lower interest rate which is about 2 percent. The lease interest is around 3.5-4 percent and then you don’t own it like you do with a bond,” Leslie explained.

The council agreed a bond would make more sense for the city’s needs. However, they still need to find a truck to purchase so they don’t know exactly how much they would need to bond for.

“They get snapped up really fast; I?think we need to pick a price and then look for something,” Leslie suggested.

The council discussed what amount they would want to stay under.

“I?think we go with a higher number and then have them shop more frugally,”?council member John Herman said.

The council approved an amount of $650,000 for the bond and suggested they try to find something costing less than that.

An area along Highway 109 near the edge of the city limits in Wells was also discussed.

“There is an area along 109 which has been used in the past for road construction,”?Leslie said. “However the county said we needed a CUP, request a rezone or we annex it into the city limits.”

The area was being used as a staging area when it was brought to the city’s attention.

“I think it would be better to get it under city control,”?Leslie said. “There is only about 900 feet to annex in.”

Only three property owners would be affected, if and when the city does move forward with the annexation process.

The council voted in favor of that option and it was said the next step would be to get in touch with Clark township and to have the city attorney draw something up.

In other business:

Faribault County commissioner Bill Groskreutz updated the council on various items, one of them being the elevator in Wells which needs to be removed.

“As soon as you have information on that demo come to the County Board,”?Groskreutz said. “We just finished a demo in Winnebago and we spent $75,000 of county dollars there and the demo in Blue Earth was $10,000 in county dollars. The City of Wells should have that option as well.”

Groskreutz also advised that the county is currently in the process of hiring a county engineer and a transit director for the new Martin and Faribault county transit system.

“We will also be looking for someone in this district to serve on that advisory board,”?Groskreutz added.

He told the council to let him know if they have anyone in mind who would be interested in that opportunity.

A resident of Wells spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting to express his concerns about the speed on Sixth Avenue.

He said that people are coming out of the school and driving over the speed limit down that street.

Leslie told the council they are still working on adding signage and taking precautions about the speed around the new school area.

“We can’t put a stop sign at every intersection,” Leslie said. “But, we are still working on it.”

She explained they wanted to wait for school to have been in session for a year and then they would have a better handle on where the traffic issues were.

Wells Chief of Police Jim Ratelle informed the council members that the department is currently in the process of hiring part-time officers.

“We are looking toward some new enforcement periods,”?he said.

Some of the new enforcement efforts will include a distracted driving enforcement in April and seatbelt enforcement in May.

“We are trying to get the kids to wear seatbelts and not be texting and driving,”?he reiterated.