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Wright County Board Minutes

JULY 10, 2001

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

Eichelberg made the following correction to the minutes of 7-03-01: Page 2, 4th paragraph, next to the last sentence, ". . . seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0." Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Sawatzke, carried unanimously.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #2, "Superior Landfill Liner Installation"; Aud./Treas. Item #3, "Ditch 9 Bridge Crossings". Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

The Consent Agenda was unanimously approved as follows:


1. Performance Appraisals: J. Carlen, Sheriff.

2. Claim, MFRA, $23,762.

3. Overtime Report, Period Ending 6-22-01.


1. Approve Abatement, PIN #109-010-010010, P. Kenneth & Bonnie J. Durdahl, City of Howard Lake.


1. Approve Hire, Rebecca Yager, Office Assistant, Eff. 7-23-01 (Step 1).

2. On Sale Liquor License, "Harley's Pub & Eatery" (Rockford Twp.).

Gruber requested approval for a new Office Assistant position in the License Bureau of the Auditor/Treasurer's Department effective immediately. This position is included in his budget request for 2002. He stated effective July 11, 2001 the County's portion of motor vehicle transfer fees will increase from $3.50 to $7.00 per transaction. This increase is expected to provide approximately $1,875 additional revenue per week which would be more than sufficient to fund this position. Gruber stated he has observed the office over the last couple weeks and there are often 25-30 people lined up at a time which is resulting in staff not being able to both cover the counter and get their paper work done at their desks. A recent change in the vital statistics area which now allows birth and death certificates to be obtained in any county, rather than in the county where the birth or death occurred, has also increased the workload. Gruber also mentioned a communication which indicated that Court Administration would no longer be handling passports, and he felt it was likely to be added to his Department. Sawatzke stated he did not disagree the License Bureau may need additional help, but that it is unusual for staffing requests to not be handled through the budget process. He was unaware of the passport issue and questioned whether a department could unilaterally drop a service for which staffing was provided. He suggested both issues be referred to the Personnel Committee for further discussion. In response to a question, Gruber stated the License Bureau is fully staffed and has hired a college student on a temporary basis to help for a couple weeks. Sue Rief, License Bureau supervisor, stated that regardless of the passport issue, it doesn't change the fact that they are unable to keep up with their current workload. She indicated their office does quite a bit of work for dealers which involves long form paper work and deadlines must be met or the dealer is required to pay a penalty. Russek stated the office is service oriented and that if the public is unable to obtain service and goes elsewhere that it also affects revenue. Sawatzke made a motion to refer the License Bureau staffing request and the passport issue to the next Personnel Committee, which is scheduled to meet July 25, 2001. Seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

Gruber stated the issue of bridge crossings over Ditch 9 was laid over from the 7-03-01 meeting in order for Kerry Saxton, SWCD, to review the information on storm water drainage into Ditch 9 provided by Plowe Engineering. Saxton stated he is not in agreement with what is being proposed, but has not had an opportunity to pose his questions to Plowe Engineering. He distributed a map identifying three crossing locations and explained his concerns with each location. Jude questioned how the County would be able to back up Saxton's recommendations if challenged by Plowe Engineering, as Saxton is not a registered engineer. Saxton stated that Jude's question is a legitimate concern and that he has talked with an engineer who concurs with his concerns. Jude wondered if the engineer contacted by Saxton would be willing to come forward if there was a challenge, or if the County should hire an engineer. Saxton didn't feel things had gotten that far and was at a discussion stage. Tom Kelly, County Attorney, stated that with Saxton's experience, and input from the engineer he has talked with, that it's not necessary to hire anyone at this point to continue discussions with Plowe Engineering. Russek felt Saxton's concerns should be listened to and if the County does not feel Saxton is qualified because he isn't a registered engineer then the County shouldn't be asking him for input. Russek moved to lay over for one week in order to allow time for discussion with Plowe, seconded by Eichelberg. Motion carried unanimously.

Gruber presented the claims listing with a correction on Page 8 which incorrectly listed Jude Vending for mileage and parking in the amount of $57.48 rather than Sandra Kile. Jude questioned a payment in the amount of $53.25 to Hardings Towing coded under Professional Services rather than Vehicle Maintenance. Norman stated that there are times when the Sheriff's Department takes someone into custody who is not capable of driving and the vehicle needs to be towed. Gruber stated he would have his staff check previous coding, but felt it was coded correctly under Professional Services. Sawatzke moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract with the correction on Page 8, subject to audit. Seconded by Russek. Carried unanimously.

Jude closed the regular meeting at 9:29 A.M. to hold the Public Hearing on the proposal to make the County Recorder an appointed position. No one was in attendance from the public to speak for or against the proposal. Norman stated that the public notice placed in the newspaper provided for written comment to be received from the public in his office, and that no written comments were received. Jude closed the Public Hearing and reconvened the Board Meeting at 9:32 A.M. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy County Attorney, referenced a copy of the passed legislation requiring a resolution be published before adoption of the resolution and stated the wording is somewhat unclear as to whether one or two resolutions are needed. He also stated the legislation requires a 4/5th vote on the resolution in order to be adopted. This is a change from the original draft. Sawatzke moved that Asleson and Norman draft the resolution to be published in order to move to the next step. Seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

At 9:30 A.M. the Bid Opening was held for the CSAH 18 Improvements (SAP 86-618-07). Sawatzked moved to lay the bids over for an award later in today's meeting, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0. The bids received were:

Bidder; Bid Bond; Acknowledge Addendum #1; Bid Amount

Bauerly Companies; Yes; Yes; $1,707.048.42

Buffalo Bittuminous, Inc.; Yes; Yes; $1,572,535.10

Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, said it was the consensus of those in attendance at the 6-29-01 Highway 55 Coalition meeting that Wright County enter into a formal agreement with the Minnesota Transportation Alliance with the Counties of Hennepin and Wright providing the "seed money" of $10,000 each. He distributed copies of materials including the mission statement, proposed facilitator contract, draft by-laws and the strategic planning process. Discussion followed on compensation costs beyond the $1,500/month, solicitation of cities to share in the cost, and where the $10,000 seed money would come from. Mattson indicated that the City of Plymouth has concerns and that the expense should be shared by others than just Wright County. Fingalson stated once there was an agreement, the Minnesota Transportation Alliance would play a role in soliciting money. Norman felt Consulting Services in the Road and Bridge Budget would be a more appropriate funding source for the $10,000 seed money than the General Fund. Sawatzke questioned whether the cities along Hwy 55 have been contacted and felt their support should be obtained before entering into an agreement. Fingalson stated they have not seen this particular contract, but that there have been representatives from the cities present at the meetings and they understand there is a cost involved. Jude felt Wright County would be the lead organization to get things going and that contingencies could be added. Russek favored entering into the agreement for one year to get things going. Eichelberg moved to enter into a formal agreement with the Minnesota Transportation Alliance for one year contingent upon Hennepin County also contributing $10,000 "seed money", with Wright County funds to come from Consulting Services in the Road & Bridge budget. Seconded by Russek. Eichelberg questioned whether the July 15, 2001 date in the agreement should be changed. Russek did not think the date needed to be changed if Hennepin County approved the agreement before that date. Mattson expressed concern with the inclusion of "super 2" language. Fingalson stated action at today's meeting is to approve entering into an agreement with the Minnesota Transportation Alliance in concept and that when the group meets later this month, they will work on fine-tuning language. Following further discussion it was agreed to remove the wording "super 2". Motion carried 4-1, with Sawatzke voting no.

Sheriff Miller requested signature of the Board Chair on a grant resolution allowing continued participation in the Minnesota Safe & Sober Campaign. This will allow our participation with the Cities of Annandale, Buffalo and Howard Lake. If the grant proposal is accepted, up to $30,000 would be awarded which allows for reimbursement of overtime pay during high activity periods. Before and after each segment where extra shifts are worked, the public would be informed of the objectives, which are reducing deaths and injuries caused by traffic crashes by increasing seat belt and child seat use and decreasing impaired driving.

At 10:00 A.M. Jude closed the acceptance of bids for the Lake Charlotte/Lake Martha Sewer Project, and discussion continued on the grant resolution. In response to a question from Russek, Sheriff Miller stated that historically those counties that have participated have not used all the grant money received. Sawatzke moved to approve Resolution #01-50 authorizing signature of the Board Chair allowing continued participation in the Minnesota Safe & Sober Campaign. Seconded by Russek, and carried on a roll call vote 5-0.

Sheriff Miller presented the Annual Inspection of the Wright County Jail for 2001 report from the Minnesota Department of Corrections for review. He stated the major concerns involve staffing, and that the facility is not in substantial compliance due to staffing levels. According to the report the facility should have 40 full-time Correction Officers, not including supervisors, to be in compliance. The facility is currently staffed with 33 full-time Correction Officers. Sheriff Miller stated that his 2002 budget request included the addition of one new Correction Officer position. In response to a question from Jude, Sheriff Miller stated sanctions can be taken against the facility for non-compliance. He recommended the matter be referred to committee and request Mr. Thompson from the Minnesota Department of Corrections attend to discuss the staffing issue. Sawatzke stated that in 1991 the facility was said to be fully staffed and since that time have added positions to the current level of 33 full-time Corrections Officers. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to refer the Jail staffing issue to the Personnel Committee. Sawatzke requested Sheriff Miller bring inspection reports and staffing data since 1991 to the Personnel Committee meeting. Motion carried unanimously.

Brian Oakley, MFRA, opened the bids for the Lake Charlotte/Lake Martha Sewer Project. One bid was rejected at 10:08 A.M. as not meeting the 10:00 A.M. Bid Opening deadline. Five bids were presented as follows:

Bidder; Bid Bond; Addendum Acknowledged; Bid Amount

Earth Burners, Inc.; Yes; Yes; $1,369.586.20

Ellingson Drainage, Inc.; Yes; Yes; $1,188,844.00

GM Contracting Inc.; Yes; Yes; $1,194,179.48

Riley Bros. Utility Service Co.; Yes; Yes; $1,321,072.20

Utility Systems of America, Inc.; Yes; Yes; $1,152,329.40

Oakley stated the bids are good for 60 days and that assessment notices needs to be mailed to residents and a public hearing scheduled. Russek moved to acknowledge the bids received and for a Public Hearing to be scheduled. Seconded by Eichelberg. Motion carried unanimously. Possible dates for the Public Hearing were discussed. Russek moved to amend his motion to schedule the Public Hearing for 7:00 P.M. on August 6, 2001 at the Government Center. Seconded by Eichelberg. Motions carried unanimously. As an informational point, Asleson commented that it was better practice to reject the late bid without it being opened. Jude and Russek felt that it was unfortunate for the individual and company, but that procedures need to be followed.

Asleson provided an update regarding recent Tobacco Compliance checks. During the tabocco compliance checks completed in late May and early June, 57 of 92 retailers sold tobacco to a minor. Sixteen and seventeen year old minors were sent into establishments in an attempt to purchase tobacco. Four retailers have appealed and 13 have failed to pay the administrative fine of $75. On June 26th, 28 retailers who failed the first compliance check were re-checked, with 4 violations occurring. He reviewed the ordinance adopted in 1997 or 1998 and requested direction from the board reqarding 1) procedures for handling appeals; 2) administrative fines for subsequent violations; and 3) collection of unpaid fines. Letters have been written to the 4 retailers who are appealing. Asleson stated that according to Jon Young in Public Health that at some other counties elected officials have heard the appeals. He said that the Attorney's Office could not hear the appeals, it could become costly to hire another attorney, and that retailers have the right to appeal to district court. There was agreement in the use of minors that they would not be called to testify. Asleson recommended scheduling the four appeals to be heard at the end of a Board Meeting. In response to a question regarding the 13 retailers who have not paid the administrative fine, Asleson stated that letters are being sent in an attempt to collect the $75. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted for the appeals to be heard at a Board Meeting scheduled by Asleson. Asleson stated there were 4 second time violators and that according to Wright County's ordinance there is a $200 fine for a second offense within 24 months. In response to a question from Jude, Asleson stated that a retailer's license can be suspended for a period of time upon the third violation within 24 months.

Fingalson reviewed the bids for CSAH 18 Improvements that were laid over earlier in today's meeting. He stated his staff found no errors in looking through the bids and recommended the bid be awarded to Buffalo Bituminous, Inc. with the low bid of $1,572,535.10. He anticipates completion by November 1st with one surface coat. Mattson moved to award the bid to Buffalo Bituminous, Inc., seconded by Eichelberg. Carried unanimously.

Bill Weldele was not in attendance to present his concerns regarding the closing of Pelican Lake access.

A Committee Of The Whole meeting was held on 6-27-01. Russek presented the minutes and due to their length summarized that the Committee came to a conclusion on the matter of assessment, identified lots as to their inclusion in Phase 1 or 2, made decisions on a number of lots that had been identified with specific issues, and that these would be brought out in the Public Hearing. Jude raised the question as to who in the County is going to be responsible for fielding questions, and felt that a specific department should be identified. Russek stated that he assumed he would receive calls as this is in his district and anticipates things going as smoothly as they did in St. Michael. Jude asked Norman which department he felt should receive calls and deal with budget matters once the project is on-going. Norman stated there isn't one department that deals with this type of project, but thought P&Z or Highway might be the most appropriate. Eichelberg felt this would need to be discussed more in the future and a file of calls kept. On a motion by Mattson, second by Eichelberg, all voted to accept the minutes as follows:

Lake Charlotte/Lake Martha Sewer Project

Jude stated he was interested in discussing who is to be responsible for what, and when there are disputes and complaints who at the County is going to handle them. He felt the involvement of the County Board is to determine policy and not get into the day to day operation or delinquent billings. Asleson stated the County would become involved in issues as 100% of the project is in the township and it is a County project. There was discussion on how the City of St. Michael handles billing and maintenance. Oakley stated St. Michael has a maintenance service contract with U.S. Filter and they are familiar with the area and this type of grinder pump, although there are other groups that are capable of providing service. Phase 1 of the project includes 105 grinder pumps with an approximate cost of $1,800/pump package, with the pump being owned by the County. Fees include a $15/month grinder replacement fee and a $30/quarter wastewater treatment fee. Liability in the event of pump failure was discussed. Oakley explained how the system works and that in the event of pump failure there would have to be a substantial amount of water put into the drain before it would backup. Oakley stated pumps carry a mechanical warranty of two years and there is a one year performance bond. Mattson referenced a situation he was aware of where a homeowner had sewer backup and has added an endorsement for sewer backup to their homeowner's insurance policy. If was suggested the County pursue the issue of County liability and coverage with MCIT.

Jude raised the question as to who at the County is going to be responsible to handle calls and what department is going to be fiscally responsible. Oakley stated in St. Michael that U.S. Filter receives calls directly and collects fees. He suggested the possibility of an advisory committee representing the County and the homeowners could be formed. Norman felt a separate fund would need to be set up, and expressed concern with the service contractor holding the County's replacement money and interest. Oakley stated the money collected serves two purposes: 1) to fund putting in the system, and 2) to fund the on-going maintenance of the system. The question was raised whether money received from homeowners paying off their assessment up front could be used for replacement costs or other purposes, or is required to go toward bond repayment. This will need to be clarified.

Phase 1

Oakley distributed an outline of questions he felt needed to be addressed to establish general policy regarding the project. He stated that Phase 1 of the project includes 11 existing houses with failing systems and some vacant lots, with agricultural land not being included. Oakley indicated original discussions required everyone in Phase 1 to connect immediately, but he now felt that may not be a good idea. Stubs would be installed, however, on all buildable lots for future hookup. The following issues were discussed and recommended:

- All buildable lots are required to pay for a stub.

- A 20,000 sf platted lot is a buildable lot.

- A single platted lot of less than 20,000 sf not owned in common with other lots will be provided a stub; Board of Adjustment approval needed for necessary setbacks, variances, and if in bluff zone.

- Natural drainage ways can be rerouted if they can be controlled.

- Multiple stubs will be provided for contiguous lots of more than 40,000 sf; Board of Adjustment approval needed as above.

- If an owner wants a non-buildable lot to be considered buildable, the owner's wishes will be taken into consideration if it's questionable; Board of Adjustment approval needed.

- If an owner wants a buildable lot to be considered non-buildable the answer is no.

-The Attorney's Office did not feel it was possible to ensure that lots declared "non'buildable" now remain "non'buildable" in the future.

- Lots with non-conforming systems must connect.

- Seasonal cabins do not have to connect if they do not have a well.

- Season cabins do not have to connect if the existing drain field is removed from service and a holding tank is installed.

- Seasonal cabins have to pay the stub fee.

- Non-buildable lots with seasonal cabins are required to pay for a stub. Need a holding tank; required to be conforming. If sold, new owner needs to obtain necessary variances if wanting to build.

- Lots with conforming systems can defer connection. They must pay for stub and have right to connect when system fails.

- The County determines whether or not a system is conforming.

-The point of enforcement for non-conforming systems is at the point of sale, or applying for a building permit.

- New homes built on assessed lots will be required to install CMSSD approved pumping station and connect to the system.


Oakley stated that Phase 1 will pay all costs of the project. If, and when, Phase 2 would be connected they will pay the same assessment costs (adjusted for inflation) as Phase 1, plus costs to extend the pipe. Oakley felt this was a fairness issue. There was discussion on replacement, administration and maintenance costs associated with the project. Oakley explained the assessment cost will be determined by dividing the project cost by the number of Phase 1 people with a repayment period of 20 years. Asleson mentioned he had received a recommendation that the County carry a 15 year bond rather than 20 year. He will pursue this further. It was recommended the interest rate be set at 1 1/2 % above bond, with no interest penalty for prepayment of an assessment.

Phase 2

Oakley explained that it is unknown where or when Phase 2 of the project would be initiated. It was determined that no new homes can be constructed in any part of Phase 2 without extending and connecting to the system. Existing houses would be reviewed on a case by case basis. All lots in Phase 2 with non-conforming systems would be allowed to upgrade their systems rather than connect to the municipal sewer on a case by case review basis.

Specific Lots With Issues

Oakley identified the following lots which have specific issues regarding installation of a stub or the number of stubs. Lot size, whether it's a buildable lot, and the number of buildable lots where multiple lots are owned by one individual were discussed with the following determinations made:

A. 127 Halsey - also owns lot 31 (16,000 sf) - No stub

B. Lot 29 - no other lot owned (17,000 sf) - Yes, provided needed variances obtained

C. 143 Halsey - seasonal cabin - owns lots 28 & 27 (27,000 sf) wants 1 BL (buildable lot) - Yes, provided needed variances obtained

D. 151 Halsey - seasonal cabin - 12,000 sf, wants 0 BL - Ok

E. 243 Halsey - seasonal cabin - owns lots 19 & 20 (27,000 sf) wants 2 BL - Gets 1

F. 347 Halsey - also owns lot 14 (13,000 sf - next to lake access) wants 1 BL - No

G. 851 Halsey - also owns lots 3 & 5 - recently purchased home has new mound - Yes, 3 BL

H. Lots 8 & 9 Halsey & 33 - highway setback - wants 1 BL - No for Lot 8, Gets 1BL

I. 7092 6th St - seasonal cabin - owns lot 10 (12,000 sf) - wants 1 BL - Gets 1 stub, lot of record, buildable provided Bd of Adjustment approves

J. 7062 6th St - seasonal cabin - owns lots 1-9 (63,000 sf) unsure what owner wants - Gets 1 or 2, his choice

K. 7164 9th St - owns lots 6 & 7 - 2-20,000 sf lots possible but would require moving lot line - wants house only or out of Phase 1 - Put into Phase 2, eliminate line

L. 7167 9th St - owns lots 8, 9 & 10 - 2-20,000 sf lots possible, topography issues with 1 - wants house only or out of Phase 1 - Put into Phase 2

M. 7252 9th St - own lot 7 - issue w/drainage - Yes, if take care of drainage issue

N. The Birches Block 2 lots 2, 3 & 4 - house in Ph2, 2 lots in Ph1 - Talk to owner, put in if owner wants, their choice in Ph1 or Ph2

O. 7412 9th St - own lot 5 (22,000 sf) - are selling house and need answers. Lot has mound. Can it be separated after sewer is in? - Ok for 2, use of mound in meantime should be addressed in purchase agreement.

P. 7426 9th St - own lot 4 (14,000 sf) - wants 1 BL - No, unless P&Z says it's a legal lot

Q. 839 Hammond - own lots 17-20 - 1 BL possible - Gets 2 (1 for existing house +1) - need lot line adjustment.

R. 818 Hansack - owns lots 9, 10 & 11 (20,000 sf ea) 21 (12,000 sf) and unplatted area (54,000 sf) - Unsure what owner wants, may need 10' easement, possibly 3 stubs, check with P&Z regarding land across road.

S. 897 Hansack - owns lot 22-27 - one in Co Rd setback, 22-25 (54,000 sf) would like 2 BL - Gets 3 (house & 2 BL) is platted, owner wants larger lots, may need future easement.

Oakley stated a 20 ft permanent easement and 40 ft temporary easement will be needed. Approximate easement cost is $ .25/sq ft for temporary and $ .50 /sq ft for permanent easements. The bid opening for the project has been set for July 10, 2001. Asleson stated Statutes were unclear whether the public hearing could be held at a location other than the County seat. His recommendation was for the public hearing to be held at the Government Center, perhaps in the evening. The intent is for some of the work to be done this fall and the rest completed next spring. Bids for the project were advertised in the Journal Press as it was felt there would be a larger readership on the item in the Journal Press than the Howard Lake Herald.

Jude stated that he went out to the Superior Landfill and observed the process of the liner being installed. He showed a piece of the liner being used. This was provided as an information item.

Bills Approved

American Institutional Supply 133.65

Annandale Advocate 173.75

APPA Institute 2490.00

B&D Plumbing & Heating 473.30

George Bakeberg 371.40

Betmar Languages, Inc. 440.46

Buffalo Painting, Inc. 2000.00

City Buffalo 33,940.99

CDW Government, Inc. 260.41

Clearwater Township 1262.52

City Clearwater 2115.93

Daffinson Asphalt 65,350.80

Department of Public Safety 8100.00

Ralph Douglas 409.50

Dustcoating, Inc. 802.40

Elmer Eichelberg 150.28

EPA Audio Visual, Inc. 2801.52

Facility Systems, Inc. 6040.15

Fasco 210.10

Tom Feddema 176.12

Federated Propane 1993.10

Going Under Dive Center 171.41

Douglas Gruber 515.24

Hartman & Hallet Interpreters 275.00

Heart of the Lakes Pumping 795.00

Johnson Emergency Vehicle 848.60

KNR Communications Svces 997.92

Lakedale Telephone Co. 326.25

Loberg Electric 285.50

Magtek 115.50

Maple Lake Lumber Co. 253.89

Maple Lake Messenger 131.47

Marco Business Products 1669.87

Richard Mattson 231.20

Midwest Forensic Path. PA 140.00

MN Counties Ins. Trust 150.00

Monticello Township 1784.70

City Montrose 409.88

Murray County Recorder 290.00

Neil's Floor Covering 597.00

Office Depot 1335.14

Denise Olson 304.30

Parr Emergency Product Sale 238.52

Press & News Publication 190.20

Dave Reed Construction 3600.00

Reliant Energy Minnegasco 2051.33

Sharon Schubert 112.20

Sherwin Williams 390.37

Silver Creek Township 1674.89

St. Cloud Times 637.30

Superior Service - Central MN 453.00

Survivalink Corporation 259.43

Unique Photo 1018.90

Chuck Van Heel 338.06

Carol Vander Kooi 4029.58

Verizon Wireless 782.51

Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Co. 180.75

Wal-Mart Store 01-1577 234.19

Waste Management TC West 381.09

City Waverly 1076.00

Winsted Publishing, Inc. 350.45

Wright County Hwy. Dept. 26,408.88

Wright County Journal Press 440.62

Wright Lumber & Mill., Inc. 112.04

Xcel Energy 110.68

24 Payments less than $100 1255.50

Final Total 187,650.74

The meeting was adjourned at 10:35 A.M.

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