“A lot of opportunities have been wasted” Shane Zahrt of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) told Wells City Council, referring to the 2022 Minnesota state legislative session. “All conditions were in place for a productive legislative session and lawmakers approached many bills. However, the negotiations failed and the session ended in disappointment.
Zahrt addressed the city council at its regular Aug. 8 meeting.
“Everything looked good to get a tax bill passed,” said Zahrt. “But, last week, everything fell apart.”
The outcome of not passing a bail bill, Zahrt explained, means things will be delayed.
“Infrastructure will have to wait, the Greater Minnesota Child Care Subsidy Program will have to wait, the Greater Minnesota Housing Infrastructure Subsidy Program will have to wait.” Zahrt commented. “The only bright spot could be broadband with $50 million earmarked for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program and $100 million has also been made available through the Investment and Jobs in infrastructure to fund additional border-to-border subsidies.”
Looking ahead, Zahrt noted that there are many interesting factors at play.
“We expect significant legislative turnover with at least 47 new lawmakers. There could be potential changes in legislative control and the race for governor could be competitive,” he said. “Also, 2023 is a budget year and there will likely be a big surplus to manage.”
The Board approved the payment of their dues to the CGMC in the amount of $4,552.
The Town’s snowblower, which has generated a lot of discussion during recent meetings, was once again on the agenda.
Street foreman Mike Pyzick provided a quote from Dulas Repair for $1,500 to work on the fan housing, including replacing the bearings and bushings.
“The repair can be done locally and we don’t have to load it up and haul it around to fix it,” said board member John Herman. “I like it.”
A motion was passed to proceed with the repairs.
Pyzick also reported that the pool’s closing date had been set for August 21.
City Administrator Connor LaPointe reminded the council that Minnesota’s state primary election is on Aug. 9.
“All of our office staff attended the training for election judges on August 1,” How did he. “In total, we will have 10 electoral judges working throughout the day.”
LaPointe also reported that the legislature recently passed legislation that allows police departments to provide criminal history data to city hiring and licensing authorities.
“Before this law, we had to go to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to get full criminal background check data,” LaPointe explained.
LaPointe also took the time to thank the pool staff.
“Overall, I’m happy with the way the pool has been running and managed this year,” LaPointe noted. “We received several compliments on the audio system upgrades.”
Municipal engineer Ben Rosol had a brief report for the council.
“It was pretty quiet” he said. “The biggest news is that work will begin on the crossing on Third Street on August 29.”
In terms of personnel, it was announced that a change had been made by adding a post of public works operator to the street service.
“We are not adding people” LaPointe briefed council members. “We’re just upgrading some positions.”
A personnel change occurred when the board followed the recommendation of the parks committee and voted to remove Mike Anderson from the parks board due to lack of attendance. The last meeting Anderson reportedly attended was September 21, 2021.
In other cases:
• La Pointe reported the results of a survey on the prevention of slips, trips and falls conducted by the League of Minnesota Cities.
• Council voted to award B&B Sanitation & Recycling of Winnebago a contract in the amount of $1,140 per month for waste removal at City Hall, Street Department, Community Center , Wells Liquor Depot, Wells Pool/Golf Course, Half Moon Park and Thompson Park. The contract was previously held by Waste Management.
• A public hearing was held on Order 22-04 increasing the age required to obtain a golf cart license.
• Council met in camera to discuss work strategy and to review complaints against William Schuster, who sits on the Planning and Zoning Board. The board said the investigation into the complaint was still ongoing.