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COVID-19 discussed in Wells

By Staff | Mar 29, 2020

The Wells City Council practiced social distancing during their March 23 meeting, keeping anywhere from four to six feet apart as they discussed COVID-19 protocols for the city.

Their first item of business was to set a mayoral proclamation into place regarding the COVID-19 emergency and passing Resolution 2020-09, declaring a local emergency.

Mayor David Braun chose to forego reading the proclamation during the meeting and informed the council members it was in their packet.

The proclamation reads “the COVID-19 ‘coronavirus’ presents an emergent public health emergency. In addition to threat to the health of the people of Wells, it will likely present an economic disaster to local businesses and citizens. This proclamation is made by the mayor and is done under the authority of Minnesota Statutes sections 12.29 and 12.37.”

It goes on to say the Mayor finds that the situation (COVID-19) is sudden and unforeseen and could not have been anticipated, that conditions in the city of Wells have worsened considerably as a result; it threatens the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the community, has resulted or could possibly result in catastrophic loss to or will cause such loss if not immediately addressed; and the losses could be to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Wells as well as other economic impacts and losses; the Mayor finds that traditional sources of relief are not able to repair, prevent, cover the injury or loss. The proclamation went into effect at 5 p.m. on March 23.

Shortly after addressing the proclamation, council passed Resolution 2020-09 which restated the proclamation from the mayor and declared the situation to be a special emergency. It was passed and adopted by the city of Wells unanimously by council.

The council then went over the city’s organizational chart and disaster preparation plans to look deeper into the line of communication the city would take further into the situation.

“I just want to make sure people are working up the proper chains of communication for the city,” said city administrator CJ Holl. “I’d like to emphasize that things are changing quickly and the city will have to be nimble to adjust to unprecedented needs. This is a reminder that we really have to work together through this.”

With regard to the guidelines put in place by the White House earlier in March on curbing the spread of COVID-19, the council discussed the possibility of postponing their April 13 regular meeting to April 27.

“We have to go back to our summer schedule eventually; do we want to do that earlier considering the circumstances,” asked Mayor Braun of his council.

The council chose to keep the meeting in place and play things by ear with the assistance of the city administrator and Chief of Police Tim Brenegan.

Councilwoman Brenda Weber was quick to ask both the chief and city administrator if city workers are maintaining only one person per vehicle throughout the city as they continue to work as essential workers.

“Yes, I can assure you we are taking every precaution to keep not only our officers safe, but the public as well,” responded Chief Brenegan.

In other topics, the Wells City Council:

Tabled discussions regarding the Community Center’s doors until a later date yet to be determined.

Approved the costs of a new metal roof for the Scout House. The council accepted the bid from JCT Remodeling LLC at the cost of $15,218. Insulating the Scout House will come at a later date. The council also discussed talking with?Nathan Nasinec to remove all old Boy Scout items from the building, as they are no longer of any use.

Directed city attorney David Frundt to dig deeper into the legalities of the Wellington Estates property. Council discussed the possibility of working with the Wells Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to improve the property. City Administrator Holl shared there is still high interest in the property.

Hired Neil Berg as the new golf course superintendent at the wage of $13.50 an hour.

Received resignations from Carol Laske of the Planning and Zoning board, and Kelsey Stevermer of the city’s motor vehicle services.

After accepting Stevermer’s resignation, the council went into closed session to discuss litigation strategy for labor negotiations. City attorney Frundt recapped the discussion on legal items and labor strategy. No council action was taken. The closed session began at 6:01 p.m., and adjourned at 7:10 p.m. Upon a question by council member Crystal Dulas, Holl clarified the amount Stevermer will receive for time earned with her resignation. A summary was prepared by office specialist Jennie Kloos.