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Wells road bump

By Staff | Jul 17, 2016

Road bump ahead.

At least that is what is happening with the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Preservation Project that was expected to affect Highway 109 through Wells next year. As a matter of fact, MnDOT?representatives say they have encountered a pretty big road bump.

The citizens of Wells already aired their concerns numerous times about the project slated for 2017 and the changes it would make to the community.

Some of the concerns that were discussed back in January when MnDOT representatives last paid a visit included sidewalks, loss of street access, and the responsibility of the upkeep of lawns and sidewalks.

This time, when principal planner for District 7 Ronda Allis came to inform the Wells City Council, she shared that the Highway 109 Preservation Project would be pushed back another year to 2018, and that it was possible the plans could change again before 2018.

“One thing that will not change is what the project entails. The mill and overlay as well as sidewalks are still in the plan for the city of Wells,” said Allis.

Allis shared with the council and attending citizens that the reason for the delay was directly correlated to the legislative decisions at the State Capital recently.

MnDOT?annually adjusts its 10-year plans for road construction, and because of the setback at the capital, this caused an adjustment to the plan for the project in Wells.

To further expand on the issues concerning those transportation effects to not only the city of Wells but of Minnesota’s cities in general, Carolyn Jackson of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities paid a visit to the City Council.

She informed the council of different legislative issues concerning Minnesota and how it would affect Wells.

As far as transportation was concerned, Jackson reported that there was a major debate between Gov. Mark Dayton and the?Democrats of the Senate versus the opposing Republican party in the House of Representatives regarding new and existing revenue for transportation.

The agreement stated that the state would need $600 to $700 million per year for the next 10 years to keep up with transportation concerns. But, after a controversy over funding for the SouthWest Light Rail Transit system in the Twin Cities, Governor Dayton proposed a last minute compromise that did not leave the floor.

This caused a standstill regarding the transportation agreement as well as with other tax and bonding bills on the Senate floor.

“There was no comprehensive transportation package,” says Jackson. “Without a special session to discuss the issues with these bills, there will be little to show for 2016.”

And, with little to show for 2016, the dollars projected to be spent on the Preservation Project along Highway 109 will not be available, thus pushing it further into the future.

The Wells City Council also:

Went over the rules of conduct for public comment and public meetings.

According to city administrator Robin Leslie, the City Council has seen on more than one occasion citizens who step up to the podium without giving their name and address. Leslie informed the council that this minor but key piece is very important to have for the City Council minutes, especially if the council were to follow up with individuals regarding their concerns.

Had a public hearing regarding the media franchise agreement between the city of Wells and Mediacom. It was passed unanimously by the council.

Heard an update from street foreman Mike Pyzick about concerns regarding the Wells public swimming pool. Pyzick reported that the motor for the water and chemical pumps had been having trouble since the summer began. His professional opinion was to get the motor replaced as soon as possible.

“I believe the estimate was around $1,200 to $1,500 for the new motor. This is the only motor we could find that matches up with our pool system. The motor, itself, is the same motor since the pool was built in 1952, with proper maintenance to it, of course,” said Pyzick.

He said the motor could be repaired for as little as $700 but would prefer to get the problem solved rather than temporarily fixed.

“Who knows how long that fix up will last, if we get a new motor, it would guarantee us some time,” he said.

Went into closed session to discuss and evaluate city administrator Robin Leslie and chief of police Tim Brenegan’s performances.

The next regular meeting for the Wells City Council will be held on Aug. 8, at 5 p.m.