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County tries to reach a solution in Wells demolition

By Staff | Dec 20, 2015

Let’s make a deal.

That seems to be the dialog between the Faribault County Commissioners and the Wells City Council in regard to the recently demolished Frank Brothers Elevator.

The last discussion between the county and the city occurred in September after two commissioners, Greg Young and Bill Groskreutz, met with the Wells mayor.

It was at that time that the commissioners agreed to pay $5,000 more than the amount that they had originally offered to pay when the project was first proposed.

Originally, the County Board at a total estimated cost of just more than $26,000, of which the county agreed to pay half and participate in demolition to ground level.

However, the county’s proposal to pay $5,000 extra wasn’t approved by the Wells City Council and it was back to square one.

“I?talked to Robin Leslie (Wells city administrator) about the demolition costs again,” Groskreutz said. “She presented information about how she thought the county was agreeing to pay half of the cost, not half of the estimate. I know it has not been a good situation for either party.”

Young, who sat on the committee for this demolition, thought their previous negotiation was fair and was disappointed when the council did not accept it.

“They didn’t give us a counter offer and I thought it was really a fair deal,”?he said.

Other commissioners just hoped the situation could be taken care of soon.

“I think we pay the $18,750,”?commissioner John Roper said. “I would like to get this taken care of.”

Other commissioners were still uncomfortable with how the situation was handled.

“I would feel better if we would have known the project was going over budget,”?commissioner Tom Warmka added. “It’s that they went ahead and didn’t keep us informed.”

The situation created a push to finalize the county’s demolition policy to avoid conflicts similar to this one down the road.

“We bear some responsibility on how we go about taking down buildings,”?commissioner Tom Loveall added.

The vote to offer $18,750 was split with two commissioners voting in favor and two voting against. The vote in favor by the board chair, Groskreutz, passed the motion to make the offer.

The County Board also agreed to make finalizing the building demolition policy a top priority at the start of the year.