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Wells looks at streets, pool opening

By Staff | Apr 20, 2020

Wells’ City Council took the time at last Monday evening’s meeting, on April 13, to discuss a number of preparations for the summer. From sealcoating to mowing and a few nearby street projects, the council discussed these items to get ready for the busy summer season.

But they could not talk about summer before getting an update from street foreman Mike Pyzick on how the April 13 snow plowing went.

“It went well,” Pyzick informed the council. “I think it was a solid move to decide to plow. It certainly helped with keeping the gutters and streets free of ice.”

Pyzick’s other topic of discussion was the Wells swimming pool.

“As for opening day, we’ll play it by ear,” he shared. “It takes about three weeks to get the pool ready and we still are unsure as to what the state may do with extending the stay at home order. It is possible we could miss our discount days. We know the pool does not bring in the largest amount of money for us, but depending on how late this stay at home order goes on, I think we need to figure out if we want to open the pool this season. We probably won’t be able to paint the pool this year, but that’s okay. It’s just something we need to be aware of.”

During the staff reports portion of the meeting, city administrator CJ Holl informed the council of a few progressions within the city.

Holl shared that at the Wells Business Park, the Economic Development Authority (EDA) closed on its first lot. Holl says a groundbreaking will happen soon, and construction is hopefully going to begin and be completed by fall.

Costs for Wells’ fire trucks are adding up, and fast. With one truck aimed for $43,600 in repairs, the council recently found out another pumper truck has electrical panel problems, which could cost another $35,000 or more. With the fire department’s budget sitting at $110,000 and the cost of repairs looking well over that, council will have to look into strategy to find the dollars to fix the department’s trucks.

In other topics of discussion, council members decided to table the conversation regarding new doors at the Community Center, since no one is currently using or renting the facility due to COVID-19.

The council moved on to discuss sealcoating streets for the summer. City administrator Holl shared the council had $32,000 budgeted for street improvements for the year, and the city’s seal coating bid came in under budget.

“You’ll see the quotes for seal coating and what we planned on this year was our usual sealcoating around the city. We had budgeted around $32,000 for that and then we had budgeted for doing one street either Sixth Street or the Wells Business Park we had budgeted around $29,000 for that,” said Holl. “The total of doing the business park and our usual sealcoating that we do came in about $16,000 less than what we budgeted for, so that’s good news.”

Start date for sealcoating is scheduled for no earlier than May 15 and no later than Sept. 15. Portions of the city being sealcoated include Seventh Street SE from Fourth Avenue SE to Third Avenue SE, West Franklin Street from Second Avenue SW to Third Avenue SW, Third Avenue SW?from West Franklin Street to First Street SW, First Street SW?from Second Avenue SW to Half Moon Road, Second Street SW from Fifth Avenue NW to Third Avenue NW, and the North Industrial Park.

In other summer topics, the Wells City Council voted to accept the bid from Schrader Enterprises for the next two years at a cost to the city of $32,795 for mowing and weed spraying, with an optional third year.

The council is also getting new guide and information signs for the golf course from MnDOT. Holl was quick to point out that the south-facing sign to the golf course is so worn, it’s not even legible. Renewal of the Minnesota Department of Transportation signs will come at a cost of $2,034.58, or $1,017.29 per sign. Members of the council directed Holl to see if the signs would be able to have “swimming pool” added to the sign as well. Holl said chances are slim, but he would look into it.

County Ditch 90 is in need of some repair, and the city of Wells may need to put in a couple of bucks to help. Holl shared with the council the county is planning to fix an outlet west of the city’s ponds which has eroded and collapsed at the beginning of CD90.

Water was originally designed to flow over a large pile of stones and outlet safely to the open ditch channel. Due to sediment deposition and likely additional field stone being piled on the existing rock spillway, water has found a new path into the ditch and has cut a gully. This gully happens to be right over the CD90 main tile outlet.

The Faribault County Soil and Water Conservation District will be applying for 75 percent cost share. The remaining 25 percent of the project cost will be covered by the CD90 Drainage System authorized by the county commissioners, according to Dustin Anderson of the SWCD.

“The engineer is estimating the cost of the project to be $23,630. That leaves $5,907.50 to be paid for by the Drainage System,” said Anderson. “Everyone that uses the system helps pay for maintenance. Because the city of Wells owns land in the CD90 watershed, it is a benefitted landowner of CD90. That means the city will help pay for the repair.”

A rough calculation found that the parcel that the city of Wells owns in CD90 would equate to approximately $700 for repairs.

In other portions of the Wells City Council meeting, the council went into closed session at 5:36 p.m. to discuss strategy for labor negotiations.

Upon opening the meeting, city attorney David Frundt summarized the session and City administrator Holl updated the council that an agreement with Local 49 (city hall staff, street department, liquor store management) has been reached for a new contract through 2022. Holl said he will get the administrative contract and language finalized for the May 11 meeting, where the council can approve the agreement. Holl thanked everyone involved for their diligence through the process. Motion by Weber, second by Mortenson to adjourn at 5:40 p.m. All were in favor.