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Wells City Council says no to cartway

Decision is made during a special meeting held July 1

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jul 4, 2021

Wells City Council members and city staff listened to public comment on a cartway during a special meeting held on Thursday, July 1.

To build a cartway or not build a cartway; that was the decision the Wells City Council faced at a special meeting held on July 1.

While it was not the only topic on the agenda, it was the hot topic and the majority of the meeting was spent discussing whether or not a cartway should be constructed to connect the city of Wells to a housing development which would be located outside of the city limits. The cartway, if constructed, would be inside of the city limits.

Mayor David Braun opened the meeting for public comment and told those in attendance anyone wishing to speak would be given three minutes to talk. He also stated people would only have one opportunity to address those assembled in the meeting room.

All but one of the people who spoke at the meeting addressed the issue of the cartway.

“I would like the council to look at ways the city can expand. We need to look at innovative ways to make that happen,” Bill Schuster said. “I would like to see things move forward and see the city expand even though the housing development is not in the city.”

April Kalis also spoke in favor of the cartway.

“The point is we need people to want to come to Wells,” she commented. “We have a housing shortage. I do not want to hear about problems. I want to hear about solutions. I urge the city to build so Wells has the opportunity to grow.”

Not all who spoke were in favor of a cartway.

“We are wasting our time and the taxpayer’s money by even discussing this,” Doug Schultz stated. “The housing development is not in city limits.”

Angela Kalis, who along with her husband Nate, is planning to build a new house in the housing development, also spoke in favor of the cartway.

“I am concerned Wells has a no growth mentality,” Kalis said. “Any city perceived not to be a growing city will not do well.”

Nate Kalis then spoke about the population trends in Wells.

“From 2000 to 2019 Wells has seen their population drop 13 percent,” he shared. “If that trend continues, how will we continue to support a community which has fewer people?”

During the council discussion, members expressed two main concerns.

“One of my concerns is water drainage,” council member John Herman explained. “The other is I fear we are opening a can of worms and that if we allow this cartway, then people living on the south and north edge of town will want one.”

A motion by Brenda Weber to approve the request for a cartway died when it did not receive a second. Then a motion was made, seconded and approved to deny the cartway request.

The council did have other business and decided to acquire tax-forfeited residential properties for the purpose of making them habitable so people could live in them again.

The council decided to hold a public auction for two commercial properties known as the Big Cat and Little Cat.

“These properties have a great deal of interest in them,” city administrator CJ Holl said. “The feeling is we will do better by selling them through a public auction.”