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Wells named a Purple Heart Community

By Staff | Oct 20, 2019

Wells mayor David Braun, left, stands with Ryan Sabinish of the Minnesota Military Order of the Purple Heart as they decree Wells as an official Purple Heart city.

Wells is officially a Purple Heart city.

The Purple Heart was the first American service award or decoration made available to the common soldier and is specifically awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat with a declared enemy of the United States of America.

Since its establishment by George Washington, then commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, in 1782, an estimated 1,910,162 American service members have received the Purple Heart.

And now, after a mayoral proclamation during the Oct. 14, Wells City Council meeting, the city of Wells is now a Purple Heart City. The Military Order of the Purple Heart Department of Minnesota recognized Wells’ efforts last week.

Ryan Sabinish, Minnesota Military Order of the Purple Heart senior vice commander, presented a few signs for the city in honor of area veterans.

“Wells appreciates the sacrifices of our Purple Heart recipients made in defending our freedoms and believe it is important that we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the honor and support they have earned,” said Sabinish.

The city of Wells has always supported its veteran population and has a large, highly decorated veteran population including many Purple Heart recipients, reads the proclamation. The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill among the combat wounded veteran members and their families, promote patriotism, support legislative initiatives, and most importantly make sure we never forget.

In other topics, a bid opening with regards to three parcels of farmland to lease from the city was presented. City administrator CJ?Holl opened bids from three area farmers who bid on 46.6 acres of land abutting the rifle range, 15 acres of farmland abutting the municipal airport, and five acres, with less than three acres as tillable farmland, of the West Meadow Subdivision.

Bids approximated anywhere from $80 per acre to $406 for an entire parcel, and bidders were able to raise their bids once the bids were opened. Two bids were raised during the opening. No action was taken on the bids, and the decision will be heard at the next City Council meeting.

Chief Tim Brenegan was present at the City Council meeting to discuss the need for new police mobile radios. He stated the department had been asking the city for five new police radios, and at $3,179.45 a piece, the total price was not cheap. However, Brenegan also shared that the city had received additional funds from the state to potentially cover the cost of five radios for all full-time police officers.

“So I’m looking for a motion to purchase five radios. This is something that has been brought up before about the costs. I ironically had submitted for a bid and it was just short of $16,000 for the five radios,”?said Brenegan. “About a week later, we had gotten our revenue back from the state of Minnesota and we were anticipating $27,000 and ended up getting $47,000. It gave us roughly $20,000 more than what we were anticipating, so I was hoping to use some of those extra funds to purchase these radios.”

Brenegan shared the older radios would be recycled to the part-time officers and mentioned that though there were grants available in the past, this year there were no grants available to assist in purchasing the radios. Councilwoman Crystal Dulas made a motion to approve the purchase of five radios for a total of $15,897.25, with councilman John Herman seconding the motion, which was then passed by the council.

Citizens of Wells have noticed a foul odor coming from the Brakebush factory for some time, and utilities director Jeff Amy has also made previous mention of excessive grease in the city’s water treatment ponds. City administrator CJ Holl informed the council that Brakebush’s DAF, or dissolved air filtration system, had been removing oils and greases from treatment water, turning it into a solid which can be hauled away.

Recently, the DAF quit working, and the Brakebush team, as well as Amy, have been working diligently to address the issues. Holl says he hopes the problem will be resolved within the next 30 days.

“We do not have a specific deadline, but Brakebush and the city of Wells have a user agreement they will stick to,” said Holl. “It’s a known issue and they are trying to get the unit fixed both mechanically and operationally.”

The council also:

Passed a resolution declaring costs to be assessed and ordering preparation for the Sixth Street SW improvements project from Second Avenue SW to Ninth Avenue SW. The total price for the improvement will be $2,446,208.75.

Authorized a resolution for a public hearing on the aforementioned improvement project. A hearing will be held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 12, in the Wells Community center. All persons owning property affected by such improvements will be given an opportunity to be heard with reference to the assessment of the cost of the Sixth Street SW improvements from Second Avenue SW?to Ninth Avenue SW.

Had Flaherty &?Hood, P.A. present the city’s job classification and compensation study which indicated Wells was out of compliance with the Pay Equity Act, stating the city does not have uniform structure. The council went into closed session for strategy for labor negotiations. Coming out of closed session, the council took no action with regards to the pay equity and compensation study.

Went into closed session to discuss pending litigation strategy. Coming out of closed session, the council took action by unanimous vote to direct the city attorney to send a letter to property owners with regards to the use of unapproved building materials not allowed by ordinance.

Approved of a Hildi OPEB?Actuarial study agreement.

Granted a street closure request for First Avenue SW for a “Trunk or Treat” program scheduled for Oct. 27, from 2-5:30 p.m.