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Eichelberg takes over as Wright County Board chair for 2008

January 14, 2008

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

Wright County Commissioner Elmer Eichelberg of St. Michael took over as board chair during Tuesday’s meeting, replacing Commissioner Jack Russek of Delano, who served as board chair for 2007.

Wright County rotates the chair position each year.

Eichelberg was elected to the county board in 1999, and his current term expires in December 2010.

Commissioner Pat Sawatzke was appointed vice-chairman for 2007.

The commissioners’ committee and advisory board assignments remain unchanged from 2007.

Condemnation resolution approved

The board approved a resolution for acquisition of right-of-way along CSAH 19 between Trunk Highway 241 and the north city limits of the City of St. Michael.

The project involves 54 parcels, and right-of-way has already been acquired from about half of these.

The resolution authorizes the county attorney’s office to begin eminent domain proceedings using the 90-day quick-take procedure for the remaining parcels.

County Engineer Wayne Fingalson said the county will continue to try to negotiate settlements with the property owners, but the county needs to move forward with condemnation proceedings to ensure timely access to the properties during the 2008 construction season to avoid jeopardizing $2 million in federal funding for the project.

The road improvement project will involve construction of four travel lanes, additional turn lanes, curb and gutter, and sidewalks.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• designated the Herald Journal as Wright County’s official newspaper for 2008.

• approved two claims for the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, $539,397 for 2008 workers compensation premium, and $458,480 property/casualty insurance premium for 2008.

• approved payment of a $110,200 claim from Phasor Electric for work on the jail/law enforcement center.

• approved the nomination of two projects for federal transportation funding in fiscal year 2012. They are the CSAH 3 reconstruction project and the replacement of bridge 90697 on CSAH 35.

• authorized signatures for renewal of the contract with Buffalo Allina Hospital for jail medical services at a cost of $11,280 per month (about 135,355 per year). This represents an increase of approximately 7.4 percent from the 2007 contract amount of $126,000.

• heard a report from Parks Administrator Mark Mattice and DNR Forester Bob Quady regarding forestry management activities in Montissippi Park.

Mattice and Quady presented a work plan that includes removal of trees that are in poor condition.

The board authorized Mattice to sign a contract for removal of the trees.

Sawatzke said his main concern is that the contractor limit damage to the trails when the work is completed.

Mattice said two landing sites have been identified to limit damage to trails.

The board also renewed the existing committee appointments for the year, which are the same appointments as 2007. Appointments are the following for 2008: Area Transportation Planning – Mattson, Budget Committee – Russek, Mattson, auditor/treasurer (ex-officio), Dick Norman (Sawatzke), Budget Committee of the Whole – all commissioners, Building, Furniture & Equipment – Heeter, Mattson (Eichelberg), Capital Improvement/Finance Committee – Heeter, Russek, auditor/treasurer, Attorney, Norman (Eichelberg), Central MN Jobs & Training – Eichelberg, Civil Defense – Heeter and Sawatzke, Committee to Inspect Roads – all commissioners, Committee to Inspect Ditches – Two commissioners, as appointed by the auditor/treasurer, Compost Finance – Russek, Sawatzke and Bill Stevens, County Extension Service – Russek and Mattson, Court Security – Mattson and Norman, Deferred Compensation – Heeter and Sawatzke, Delegates to AMC – all commissioners, auditor/treasurer, coordinator and highway engineer, Detention Facilities – Mattson, Heeter, court administrator, sheriff, court services director, and Norman, Drug Task Force – Mattson, EMS Joint Powers – Heeter (Sawatzke), Forfeited Tax Sales – Russek and Mattson, Great River Regional Library – Sawatzke, Highway 55 Coalition – Heeter and Russek (Fingalson), Labor/Management Health Insurance – Russek, Eichelberg, coordinator (Mattson), Labor Management/Loss Control – Mattson, Eichelberg, coordinator, civil defense director, special project administrator, one representative from the Teamsters/LELS, AFSCME, 49ers and Teamsters, Law Library Board – Eichelberg, Legislative Matters – all commissioners, Owners Committee – Sawatzke, Heeter, Miller, Torfin, Asleslon, Swing & Hayes and Norman, Personnel Committee and Employee Relations – Eichelberg and Sawatzke (Heeter), Planning and Zoning – Russek, Public Works Labor/Management – Russek and Norman (Mattson), Purchasing Steering – Eichelberg, Mattson, purchasing agent (Heeter), Solid Waste Task Force – Eichelberg and Sawatzke, Technology – Eichelberg, Heeter, IT director, auditor/treasurer, highway engineer,, human services representative, sheriff representative and surveyor (Russek), Transportation – Eichelberg, Mattson and highway engineer, 7W Transportation – Mattson, Union Negotiations – Russek and Sawatzke (Eichelberg), Water Management Task Force – Eichelberg, Ways & Means – Mattson and Sawatzke (Russek) and Wright County Community Action Council – Heeter, Eichelberg and a city representative.

For advisory board members, the Wright County Board appointed the following for 2008, which remained the same as 2007: Clearwater Watershed District – Heeter, CROW – Russek (Mattson), East Central Joint Powers Board – Sawatzke and MacMillan, Economic Development Partnership Board – Sawatzke, Historical Society – Sawatzke, Meth Education Drug Awareness (MEADA) – Heeter, Mid Minnesota Mississippi River RC& D – Russek, Monticello Joint Planning Board – Sawatzke, Parks – Eichelberg, Safe Communities of Wright County – Heeter, Soil Conservation – Russek, Wright County Ag Society – Heeter.