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Wells Council runs numbers on fire trucks

By Staff | May 24, 2015

The Wells City Council met last Monday and had plenty on their plates to discuss for the city. Included in the agenda was the hiring of new police staff, the purchase of new fire trucks, and the declaration of a hazardous structure.

The council discussed issuing general obligation equipment certificates with the help of Northland Securities, Inc. to purchase a used aerial truck and a new pumper truck for the Wells Fire Department.

Vice president of Northland Securities, Monte Eastvold, was at the meeting to address the bond payments that the City of Wells would be receiving for the issuance and sale of the $650,000 general obligation equipment certificates.

The City Council determined and declared that it was necessary and expedient to issue $650,000 to finance the acquisition of capital equipment for the city.

The council and Eastvold discussed that the pieces of equipment to be financed by those certificates have an expected life at least as long as the term of the certificates (through 2024). The average interest rates for the certificates is 2.1726 percent over that nine year period.

With the added bonds going into the city, the average annual tax increase, according to Northland Securities Inc.’s handout was $95.85 for residential market values around $100,000, $143.82 for residential market values around $150,000, and an average increase of $191.76 for a residential market value around $200,000.

Once the details were discussed between Northland Securities, Inc. and the Wells City Council, it didn’t take long for the members of the council to unanimously approve the resolution for the issuance of the certificates.

As Wells adjusts nicely to its new interim Chief of Police Tim Brenegan, he reported to the council that business in the police station is moving along well enough since the resignation of former Chief of Police, Jim Ratelle.

According to Brenegan’s report, the police department just recently conducted interviews for a part time position and selected five candidates that the hiring committee felt would be a good fit for the department and hope to get them started soon. Later on in the meeting, City Council members unanimously approved the appointment of part-time police officer Tyler Linde.

Brenegan also reported there is yet another dog that has been declared as a potentially dangerous dog and the forms to declare such were given to the owner of the dog, Geena Roberts.

The last item on the docket was the declaration of a house on First Avenue SW as being hazardous.

“We found out that this person that had their pipes burst in their home about eight years ago and has, since then, been living in the structure without running water,” said Robin Leslie, city administrator. “There was no notification of these burst pipes, it just sort of happened by accident when someone came to complain about the animals on the property, that we figured out the state of things.”

Leslie said she forwarded the information to the city attorney and since then, the power has been shut off, the property is posted as inhabitable as it is against Minnesota State Building Code to live in a structure without running water.

Police officers served a warrant at the address and impounded the animals that were living there. Two cats and two dogs were taken to All Pets Clinic in Mapleton and evaluated. The inhabitant of the structure was then told that she was no longer permitted to live in the house and was relocated.

“The next step is the city has to address the property,” says Leslie. “I’ve spoken to the city attorney, and I’m just asking for an informal motion, as it is not required, to move forward with getting this property designated as a hazardous structure.”

Leslie stated that what would happen after that is the property owner would be notified and would have to address the property and tear it down within a certain time frame. If the owner cannot tear it down, the city has to take on the obligation to do so.

“Most likely, due to the financial situation of the inhabitant regarding their water pipes, this is going to end up being a tax forfeiture and we will have to take care of it,” Leslie shared.

The council unanimously approved the decision to allow Leslie to move forward with the declaration for the home as hazardous.

Also at the meeting:

Wells Gun Club president, Don Brown requested a layout change for the gun range.

Linda Sonnek’s library board resignation was approved by the council.

Wells American Legion, VFW, and Wildcats had their liquor licenses renewed.

The council approved the temporary on-sale liquor requests from the Wells Area Jaycees for a beer garden on Aug. 14 and a street dance on Aug. 15.