Wells administrator gives 100-day update
In his first 100 days as the Wells city administrator, CJ Holl made a report to the Wells City Council at the end of their meeting that blew them away.
Holl’s report highlighted the aspects of the city he has delved into, the projects he and the City Hall staff are currently working on, as well as showing the level of connection he has already made with the community. Holl’s presentation also informed the council on the workings within the City Hall staff including engaging the staff, building better connection, and fostering good communication between him and the staff.
“Overall, it has been an incredibly welcoming experience so far,” says?Holl. “I’ve been working diligently on creating and maintaining connections in the community. Creating change in a community is like moving a glacier; it takes some time, but it can be done.”
Already,?Holl has had the city’s “Welcome to Wells” signs painted by himself and his daughter Lily, has had South Broadway Street’s streetlights retrofitted with new lighting, helped invigorate the attendance at the Wells Flame Theatre, along with many other minor projects alongside the city’s larger projects.
The council’s response to the presentation was just as positive. “I really appreciate the effort you not only put into this presentation, but what you’ve already done in the community,” said councilwoman Crystal?Dulas. “Thank you very much.”
“I’m blown away,” said councilwoman Whitney Harig. “And the amount of enthusiasm and encouragement you have for this community is amazing. Thank you.”
During the meeting, regarding more detailed business matters, the Wells City Council heard from Scott Redig, of Nordaas American Homes, who made a formal request for right of way street access. His current project involves a side-load garage near Sixth Street SW, a location well-known to the council.
Redig requested the access in order to build the garage, and added he had spoken with property owner, Mike Weber, about the possibility of building more houses on the property.
“We’re really good at building houses, and we may be looking at doing more work in the future, but we do not want to get involved in a constant issue with the city regarding (water and electricity) access to it. We are all ears as to what we have to do,” said Redig to the council.
As far as anything beyond the building of the garage Nordaas American Homes plans to build, the council suggested city administrator Holl work with city attorney David Frundt to go through the legalities of the development agreement between Weber and the city.
Questions arose as to whether or not the agreement would still be in place if Weber were to sell portions of the property, to which the entire council was hesitant to entertain.
“I have been working with this issue since I started on the council,” said councilman John Herman. “We’ve been working on those lots for forever.”
And it was Herman who made the formal motion to have Redig work closely with Holl and Frundt regarding any further plans for the parcels of land.
In other topics, three representatives from NuStar Realty paid a visit to the council with regards to the Paragon Bank property. Kim Hipper, Summer DeMars and Sarah?Yates, two of which are United South Central graduates, were all present at the City Council meeting and expressed interest in trying to help the city sell the property. According to the council’s agenda, they were prepared to sign an agreement with Heggen Realty, but chose to postpone the agreement in order for NuStar Realty to have a say in the property. The council asked NuStar to write up a proposal for the next council meeting slated for Sept. 10.
City engineer Travis Winter was also present at the council meeting where he requested an extension for the Sixth Street project. According to the change order, removal of pavement, sanitary sewer pipe, aggregate surfacing, as well as a number of other products were listed, adding $34,532.08 to the original $1,957,640.01 project, in order to extend services to the Weber property.
“We may need indication of the location, but these extensions meet the requirements and the plan is to go right to the property line,” Holl said to the council.”
However, because there was discussion from Redig earlier in the meeting, the council chose to table the change order discussion to further discuss the legalities of it with both the city attorney and city engineer.
The Wells City Council also:
Approved an agreement with Bevcomm for an annual service contract. No changes were made to the contract, with council stating they were very satisfied with Bevcomm’s service.
Tabled a request from the Faribault County Firefighters Association for funds for a new trailer. Councilwoman Dulas was concerned as to where the current city budget was and asked that the request be tabled in order to look further into the city’s budget to see if such an item was affordable for the city to do.
Made and approved a motion to increase the city’s part-time wage from $9.65 up to $10.25 per hour. Holl expressed difficulty receiving part-time help at places like the swimming pool and theater at the starting wage where other locations in town offered a minimum start of $10.
“We just want to be able to compete with other people hiring in town for those part time positions,” said Holl. “And at the start of the year, wages in Minnesota will go up to $9.86, we may as well be progressive.”
Dulas made the motion of approving an increase to $10.25 for part time help at the beginning of 2019.
With much appreciation, accepted donations to the Parks and Rec Department in the amount of $1,600 from the Wells Greater United Fund, and a donation from Wendy Elasky on behalf of the Officers Support Network in Prior Lake, in the amount of $4,000 to the Wells Police Department.