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Wells gets another CARES fund request

City also receives REV notification

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Nov 1, 2020

Community Workforce director Emily Davis addresses the Wells City Council.

The Wells City Council received another request for some of their CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funds during their meeting last Monday evening, Oct. 26.

Emily Davis, the Community Workforce coordinator in Faribault County, gave a presentation of what the Community Workforce program is doing, and the need to raise funding so it can continue.

Davis explained it started last year as a cooperation between Southern Plains Educational Cooperative and Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA).

Davis related how the idea is to get students engaged at both Blue Earth Area and United South Central with local businesses.

“We want the students to see the career opportunities here,” Davis said. “Many of them only know what their parents do, or their friends’ parents do.”

She said the goal is to get them to realize there are job opportunities here and to want to move back here to live and work.

Davis also said the program is now just set to go through June of 2021, but they want to extend it to go through June of 2022.

Davis related why there is a need to extend the program another year.

“It is difficult to do the things we had planned right now, with all of the COVID precautions the schools are taking,” she said. “We are doing some virtual presentations, and we are trying to get a grant so that we can make videos of tours of local businesses and industries to show the kids.”

She said they would need to raise $80,000 to continue the program for that next year. She said she was asking the Wells Council to designate $5,000 of their CARES Act funds towards the program.

Council person Crystal Dulas questioned if the CARES Act funds could be used in that way, and both Davis and Faribault County EDA specialist Annie Leibel explained the reasons why they felt it could. Basically it was because the program deals with both education and economic development, both acceptable uses of the funds.

Wells city administrator CJ Holl said he feels the council does have the flexibility to grant funds to the program.

“I’m not sure exactly what is going to be left in the CARES funds after the current proposals funds are given out, but a round number would be $30,000,” Holl said. “We will know exactly what is there by our next meeting in November, and you can make a decision on this proposal at that time.”

The council agreed and will take any action at their next meeting.

In other business at last Monday’s meeting, the council:

• Learned they are one of three communities in Southern Minnesota chosen to become a REV (Rural Entrepreneurial Venture) city starting in 2021.

Administrator Holl said it is a Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) three year program that includes a grant and having a SMIF coach work with the city.

“We will need to develop a REV team,” Holl said. “Every city does different things with their REV committee that will work for them.”

He added that it was an intense hour and a half interview with SMIF officials and Wells city and EDA members.

• Learned that the Board of Appeals and Adjustments has three council members serving on it but only two are allowed by city ordinance.

Council person Dulas agreed to step down and the council passed a motion to that effect.

• Passed a motion to allow the Methodist church to close a street to hold their annual Trunk or Treat event on Saturday, Oct. 31.

• Passed a motion to pursue listing for sale Outlot B with local real estate agencies. There was discussion on pursuing a flat fee amount with the listing.

• Heard an update from administrator Holl that included information on having video of the musical at the school played at the Flame Theatre, and election information which included voting will again be at the community center on Tuesday.