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Wright County Board Minutes

APRIL 3, 2001

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Mattson, Eichelberg, Sawatzke, Jude, and Russek present.

Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes of 3-27-01 as presented, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Agenda Item B2, "Accept Resignation, Tricia Latour, Highway Technician, Eff. 4-13-01 and Authorize Replacement" (Norman); Aud./Treas. Item #2, "Census Data" (Gruber); Item For Consid. #1, "Gravel Tax" (Jude); Item For Consid. #2, "Superior Lawsuit Update" (Sawatzke). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

The Consent Agenda was discussed. In response to a question on Item B1, "Accept Resignation, Tom Weber, Highway Maintenance Person, Eff. 4-12-01 & Authorize Replacement," Richard Norman, County Coordinator, stated that the letter received from the employee several weeks ago stating the intent to resign met the resignation requirements. On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:


1. Performance Appraisals: S. Backes, Admin.; G. Kramber, Assr.; M. Heaton, B. Helget, L. Hellerud, J. Mackereth, T. Strege, M. Tuttle, Sheriff.

2. Refer To Building Committee Options For Revising Lighting, 4th Floor Conference Room.


1. Accept Resignation, Tom Weber, Highway Maintenance Person, Eff. 4-12-01 & Authorize Replacement.

2. Accept Resignation, Tricia Latour, Highway Technician, Eff. 4-13-01 & Authorize Replacement.


1. March Parks Commission Minutes.


1. Accept Resignation, Rick Denmark, Deputy, Eff. 4-14-01 & Authorize Replacement.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, distributed a breakdown of the 2000 Population Unofficial Census with 1990 and 1999 population comparisons. The material was obtained from a newspaper article. Gruber has been unable to obtain the information directly from the Census Bureau. The Wright County portion of the population for cities located in two counties is not broken down in the report. However, the total population of 89,986 reflected in the information is correct. Norman stated that the initial population figures are unofficial as there is an appeal process made available to governmental units. Funding is based upon these figures so accurate counts are important. This was provided as an informational item.

The claims listing was reviewed. Gruber made the following corrections: 1) Page 5, Robert Schermann ($134.00), the mileage should be 100 miles not 34 miles; 2) Page 10, Keith Wilts ($33.16), the reimbursement is for an Extension Board per diem not a Board Of Adjustment per diem. Eichelberg moved to approve the claims as corrected and as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried unanimously.

At the request of Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, Commissioner Mattson moved to schedule the letting date for the Bituminous Overlay Contract for 2001 (Contract 0101) for 5-8-01 at 9:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Fingalson requested approval of Highway Right-Of-Way Appraisal Rates for CSAH 18 from a point 0.36 miles SE of CSAH 37 to CSAH 19 in Albertville (SAP 86-618-07). Fingalson said he anticipated a four-lane road in the not too distant future. Dick Marquette, Highway, and Jim Cassidy, Certified General Real Property Appraiser, met with and received acceptance from the 25 landowners involved. Marquette anticipated completing the acquisition in April if possible. A Right Of Way Appraisal Schedule was distributed. Marquette estimated a total cost of $280,000 of which $45,000 will be for the CSAH 19 intersection and 35,000 for the path which the City will fund. Russek moved to approve the Highway Right-Of-Way Appraisal Rates for CSAH 18, seconded by Sawatzke. Mattson alluded to Fingalson's comment about the road potentially becoming a four-lane highway. Mattson felt upgrading Highway 55 to a four-lane was more essential than a County road. Fingalson said CSAH 19 has 25,000 projected vehicles per day and that this will have to be addressed in the future. The motion carried 5-0. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to authorize conveyance of the offers to landowners.

A Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) meeting was held on 3-23-01. A summary of the minutes and action at today's meeting follows:

TH 55 Proposed Expansion From Buffalo To Medina: Present for discussion were representatives from Mn/DOT and the MN Transportation Alliance. The expansion has been an item for discussion for a number of years due to safety and capacity problems. Part of the difficulty in reaching a long-term plan is that the road is located in two different Mn/DOT districts and the priority for improvements are different in the two districts. The portion within Buffalo is scheduled to begin in 2003. A resurfacing project with some safety improvements between Annandale and Buffalo is scheduled for 2001. Highways with over 10,200 vehicles/day (including the portion between Annandale and Rockford) meet the criteria for an upgrade to a four-lane highway. Recent traffic counts between Buffalo and Rockford are approaching 16,000/day. Corridor improvements have also been identified. There is currently not enough funding in the long-range plan to cover both the improvements and construction to a four-lane road. Fingalson stated today that since the TCOTW meeting, he found the following in the latest Mn/DOT Metro District Transportation Plan, "It (TH 55) is also a highway of statewide significance connecting the City of Buffalo and communities beyond the region to the metropolitan area" and "Funds are not available to expand this segment within the planning horizon. The unconstrained funding and capacity analysis prescribe the need to add capacity equivalent to one lane in each direction." The TCOTW Committee recommendation was to authorize Fingalson to set up a meeting with Hennepin County, Mn/DOT, and affected cities/townships to discuss formation of a Highway 55 Expansion Coalition using services of the MN Transportation Alliance. Mattson moved to approve the Committee recommendation and to authorize attendance at the 4-20-01 meeting scheduled for 9:00 A.M. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.

Franklin Township Requests: Representatives from Franklin Township met with the Committee to discuss the condition of the wood bridge over the railroad tracks on Brighton Avenue and the possible "turn up" of Brighton Avenue to Wright County. At today's meeting, Fingalson said the bridge has been on the deficient list for years. A consultant will be hired for the design and they will also need to work with the Railroad. This will be funded from the Town Bridge account. Wright County's policy is to assist townships by paying 50% of the local engineering costs. Currently, money can't be used for engineering costs and for the approach on the bridge, but this policy is proposed for change in the current state legislative session. The estimated cost of improving the bridge is $600,000-$700,000 and the replacement could be as soon as 2002. The recommendation is to authorize Fingalson to contact Franklin Township after this year's legislative session to inform them of any funding changes for engineering fees and to assist them in locating a consultant engineer to help them with the bridge replacement project on Brighton Avenue. No action was taken by the County Board.

Howard Lake Proposal RE: Hwy. 6 and School Status: Representatives from the City of Howard Lake met with the Committee to discuss the potential of a new high school west of CSAH 6 on 70th Street. If the school is built at this location, the City would like to coordinate their plans for improvement with the County's plans for CSAH 6. Several years ago, there was opposition from 70th Street residents for routing CSAH 6 onto 70th Street. This plan was temporarily set aside. An urban design may be an acceptable improvement. The City wanted the County's viewpoint so issues such as traffic speed, controlled intersections and signal lights can be addressed with developers. The City could then budget for expenses. At the Committee meeting, three of the five Commissioners agreed that rerouting CSAH 6 with 70th Street was the preferred alignment so an informal consensus was reached and this was the Committee's recommendation. The City will return to a future TCOTW meeting with a plan of the proposed development in the area.

At today's County Board meeting, Eichelberg questioned whether this request had any connection to the unresolved issue of an unsigned Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Howard Lake for placement of the water tower on the Fairgrounds property. The agreement was verbally approved in 1998 with the City of Howard Lake and approved by the County Board in 1999. Brian Asleson, Assistant County Attorney, received the agreement back in 2000 with changes to the document. Two meetings have been scheduled with the City since that time, but the City officials have been unable to attend in both cases. Today, Asleson said he had been remiss in sending a follow-up letter to the City but had been in contact with the City Administrator. Although the agreement was approved by the County Board, it had never been approved by the City Council. Russek and Mattson felt that the two were separate issues. Mattson also did not feel this issue should be discussed at today's meeting as it was not on the Agenda. Jude thought all issues should be tied together so they would be completed. Sawatzke felt the issues were separate but that the Memorandum of Understanding relating to the water towers should be upheld as originally agreed upon.

Eichelberg moved to approve the Committee recommendation to use 70th Street as the proposed route for the future CSAH 6 and to direct Asleson to communicate by letter with the City on the water tower issue, seconded by Russek. Discussion followed on the intent of the letter. Asleson said he preferred to schedule a meeting with the City. The motion and second were withdrawn. Eichelberg moved to approve the recommendation of the TCOTW Committee to use 70th Street as the proposed route for the future CSAH 6, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0. In regard to the water tower issue, Asleson said that a notice was received relating to antenna placement on the water tower. Hearings were held in early March. The original agreement which was not signed by the City called for the revenue from this placement to be shared by the City and the County. Asleson will follow up on this issue.

Relocation of Truck Station in Albertville: The City has approached the County with a proposal to move the current County Albertville Truck Station to another location. The Task Force has met one time. The proposed sites were rejected by the County since they were located in close proximity to residential areas. One area of consideration is north of I-94 and west of CSAH 19 at the Mn/ROAD complex. CSAH 18 is being improved this year and proper design of the road includes medians. The current shop location prevents completion of the medians so striping will be applied as a temporary measure. Mattson noted that this is a very valuable piece of property. This was provided as an informational item.

Rural Intersection Lighting Policy: The Highway Department is currently working on a proposed revision to the written policy on criteria and who should fund rural intersection lighting. Mn/DOT has given an agreement to Wright County that includes funding splits that tie in with projects (TH 55 & CSAH 6, TH 55 & CSAH 7). Mn/DOT has identified that these projects need turn lane and lighting improvements. The cost of the rural lighting is estimated at $12,000-$15,000 per location with ongoing electrical costs of approximately $36/month. The State's policy is to fund the full cost in these types of instances but the State may choose not to install the lights if the County does not pay half. If the County were to do so, a precedent would be set. Considerable discussion followed on funding dependent upon who owned the road. At today's meeting, Fingalson recommended that this issue be delayed one week. After considerable discussion with the State, they had proposed to have Wright Hennepin provide the lights. However, the State let the contract without approval of the agreement. Aluminum poles will drive the costs considerably higher. Further discussions will occur with the State.

Public Works Building Needs: Three expansion options were identified. Option 1 includes an expansion of the existing building to the west for storage/shops/maintenance. Option 2 would move the Parks Shop to the existing cold storage building requiring remodeling. The present Parks Shop would then be used for maintenance of the Sheriff Department vehicles. A 64' x 160' building would be constructed east of the gas pumps to accommodate additional vehicle storage. Option 3 would leave the Parks Shop where it is but add the 64' x 160' storage building. The consensus was to address the request at budget sessions. Also discussed were the roof problems at the new Public Works building relating to heat loss. Committee recommendation was to authorize Joe Scott of Scott Builders, Inc., to work on a solution to this problem. This action was already taken by the Building Committee. Russek moved to refer this issue back to the Building Committee to further investigate the problem, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Discuss Construction Program Options: The State has asked the County to consider accepting delayed reimbursement for the CSAH 14 project until the following year because Federal funds which are paid through the State are limited this year. Wright County has the option of delaying the project until 2001 or completing it in 2002 and waiting until 2003 for reimbursement. Wright County could borrow from State aid money. Waiting one year for reimbursement would entitle Wright County to an additional six percent in reimbursement (approx. $103,000). Fingalson said the recommendation was to proceed with the project but inform the State that Wright County would be willing to wait until 2003 for Federal reimbursement. Russek moved to authorize Fingalson to contact Mn/DOT regarding the change in the funding scheduled for CSAH 14.

French Lake Twp.: A signed petition was received from approximately 20 landowners in the area of the French Lake Township Bridge on 10th St. NW. The Township plans to replace the bridge but the petition is in disapproval of the project. The Township has received the petition and decided to continue to improve the bridge as they have spent approximately $20,000 on the plans for improvement. This was provided as an informational item.

Russek moved to approve the TCOTW minutes as presented, seconded by Eichelberg, carried unanimously.

Steve Fenlon, Midwest Healthcare Capital, addressed the Board on a request to sponsor a bond issue for 180 Degrees, Inc. and Bell House Properties, Inc. in the amount of $982,000. 180 Degrees, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation providing a residential program for men only, a day reporting program for men and women in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, and a Statewide electronic monitoring service for men and women. 180 Degrees, Inc. is a Minnesota 501(c)3 corporation and is located in Minneapolis. Bell House's corporate purpose is to own and manage real property on behalf of 180 Degrees, Inc. Bell House was formerly a 501(c)2 Minnesota Corporation but has applied to the IRS to amend its status to a 501(c)3. Fenlon said Wright County is being approached as the Minneapolis Community Development Authority and Hennepin County are not bank qualified. There are currently 34 individuals that are being monitored in Wright County. After further discussion, it was decided that more information was required to make a decision. Fenlon was asked to provide the financial audit and annual report for review. Issues such as the impact refinancing may have on monitoring fees charged, as well as current and future bonding requests need to be considered. Russek moved to lay this issue over for one week, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0. Mattson requested that Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director, attend the next meeting. Asleson stated that Court Services staff had positive comments on the contract they have held with 180 Degrees, Inc.

The Senate will be taking testimony on the gravel tax issue at 4:00 P.M. on 4-4-01. Jude plans to testify.

The Superior Landfill v. Wright County lawsuit was scheduled to commence on 4-8-01 in Federal Court. Due to a change in the Judge's calendar, the trial has been delayed until possibly June.

The meeting adjourned at 10:23 A.M.

Bills Approved

Brian Abrahamson 352.24

Advanced Graphic Sys. Inc. 515.09

American Business Forms 1271.28

American Institutional Supply 204.48

Lawrence Bauman 345.90

Best Inc 4006.23

Boelters Tow. and Gen. Repr. 169.34

Buffalo Clinic 378.50

Buffalo Communications Inc. 140.00

Bull HN Info. Services 271.58

Climate Air 2682.04

COMPAR Inc 6042.95

Computer System Prod. Inc 3225.70

Michael Even 225.00

Facility Systems Inc 8586.56

Foremost Sales and Service 122.54

Gall's Inc. 190.00

GCS Service Inc 1201.24

Grafix Shoppe 545.00

Scott Halonen 300.00

Hennepin County Sheriff 111.00

Intl. Personnel Mgmt 1144.50

Johnson Emer. Veh Serv. 1335.00

Bernard Kirscht 344.20

Marco Business Products 1694.02

MN Assn of Pretrial Serv. 105.00

MN Recreation and Park Assn. 150.00

Mobil Oil Corp. 579.71

Monticello Sportsmen Clup 1600.00

Richard Norman 221.02

Office Depot 1066.78

On Site Monitoring 5805.00

Phillips Petroleum Co. 145.50

Robert Schermann 134.00

Donald Schmidt 323.46

Schraders Law Enforce. Supp. 4089.71

Sherwin Williams 132.78

Software House Intl, Inc. 335.48

Sprint-Local Telecom Division 235.77

The Standard Register Co. 279.20

Streichers 3844.65

Walmart Community Brc. 249.21

David Zylstra 361.20

23 payments less than $100 966.75

Final total 56,029.61

ATTEST: Richard Norman, County Coordinator

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