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Wright County Board Minutes

NOVEMBER 20, 2001

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

Russek moved to approve the minutes of 11-13-01, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Amend Consent Agenda Item A3 to include "Clearwater" (Norman); Move Consent Agenda Item D1 to Hwy. Engineer #4 (Russek); Remove 9:35 A.M. Agenda Item, "Julie Vergin, Wright County Humane Society" and refer to next meeting (Jude); "Schedule Closed Session After Board Meeting RE: Superior Litigation" (Asleson). Sawatzke moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:


1. Performance Appraisals: R. Demarais, Assessor; J. Corrigan, D. Kotila, Highway; B. Rhineberger, P&Z.

2. Claim, Frank Madden, $414.15.

3. Authorize Signatures, Law Enforcement Contracts: Cokato, Delano, and South Haven.

4. GRRL Circulation Statistics (July, August & September).


1. Authorize Hire, Lee R. Martie, Assistant County Attorney I, Eff. 1-2-02 (Class C, Step 3).


1. Claim, Horizons, Inc., $40,575.00 (Aerial Photos 01-820-6604/0).


1. Authorize Signatures On Additional DNR Grant For Snowmobile Enforcement.

2. Refer To Personnel Committee Discussion RE: Recognition Of Volunteers Working With The Sheriff's Office.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, requested the Board set the final date for submittal of 2001 claims to the Auditor's Office on 12-19-01. Russek made a motion to move the regular meeting from 12-25-01 and reschedule if for 12-24-01 at 9:00 A.M., seconded by Sawatzke. Mattson suggested possibly holding the meeting the week before to allow for holiday services and gatherings. The Board noted that the Human Services Board meeting scheduled for that day could be moved up so it was completed by 12:00 p.m. The motion carried 3-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.

On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to acknowledge the October Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines.

In October, 2000, correspondence was received from Richard Berthiaume requesting brush clean out in County Ditch 33. The damage appears to be related to the 1997 storm. Sawatzke, Gruber and Berthiaume met six weeks ago and viewed the area. The recommendation is to have Sentence To Service (STS) perform the work. Berthiaume will allow piling and burning of the brush on his property. Brad Thompson, STS, has agreed to do the work. Gruber obtained an opinion from the County Attorney' s Office due to 2000 Session language changes. It was their opinion that STS would be an appropriate use due to the flooding which has occurred as a result of the brush blockage. Sawatzke noted that the work must be done by hand and would be costly if hired out. Sawatzke moved to authorize STS to clean brush from County Ditch 33 on the property adjacent to Richard Berthiaume, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.

Russek moved to establish a Gravel Tax Task Force appointing Dick Rieder (Township Officers), Tim Ferrell (Mid MN Hot Mix/serves on another County's Gravel Tax Task Force), Chuck Hicks (Large Hauler), Fred Bonk (Small Hauler) and representation from Planning & Zoning, Highway and Attorney Departments. The motion includes stipulating that additional members can be added in the future. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Sawatzke requested that the Task Force attempts to obtain an estimate of what gravel is mined in a year to establish if implementing the tax is financially advantageous. The motion carried 4-0.

The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson questioned whether the claim on Page 13, Construction Bulletin Magazine ($283.62) related to advertising for the French Lake Township bridge project. Fingalson confirmed this and said the County pays for the ad and is reimbursed by the Township as part of the agreement. Gruber referenced page 12, Horizons, Inc. ($40,575.00) for final payment of aerial photos. One reflight was all that was required and the Surveyor's Office is pleased with the product. Mattson moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 4-0.

At the request of Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, discussion relating to the approval of a Funding Participation & Construction Agreement with the City of Buffalo and Klatt Development for improvements to CSAH 35 will be laid over to the 12-11-01 meeting. The City of Buffalo approved the Agreement at their meeting last night. However, Fingalson learned today that Klatt has revisions to the Agreement relating to accesses. Mattson referenced safety and liability relating to bike paths and utility improvements. He did not feel paths should be in road right of way. Fingalson responded that the paths provide the pedestrian a place to travel other than on the roadway. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, stated that if an accident occurs on the road, the chance of the County being involved in liability would be much higher but the liability is there regardless.

On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to schedule a Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) meeting for 11-27-01 at 1:30 P.M. The Agenda will include 1) Introductions; 2) Review/Approve Layout For Crow River Bridge Crossing Project & Discuss Agreement With St. Michael; 3) Proposed CR 106/Cahill Avenue Project In Monticello Township; 4) Discuss Road Issue (next to Cokato Truck Station) with City of Cokato; 5) Discuss Rural Intersection Street Lighting Policy; 6) Discuss Options For Albertville Truck Station; 7) Agreement With City Of Buffalo & Klatt Development For Improvements To CSAH 35; 8) Bid Opening Process. Discussion followed on the above Agenda items. On Item #2 relating to the Crow River Bridge, a layout was received from Hennepin County. An open house is scheduled for 11-27-01. The City will possibly take action next week. In response to Fingalson, the Board indicated that the City of St. Michael should be invited to the TCOTW meeting to discuss the issue. Item #3 discussion on the CR 106/Cahill Avenue project included a recent accident at this intersection shortly after the tour. The cost of the project came in double so they will need to budget additionally to add to the $10,000 already designated this year. Item #4 relating to the roadway by the Cokato Truck Station, Mattson indicated that the road surface does not appear to have improved much. Fingalson said they have placed a considerable amount of gravel on the road. An item that was removed from the TCOTW Agenda and discussed today was the proposed layout of CSAH 35 through Albertville. A map was provided. CR 118 has been converted to CSAH 18. The suggestion is to change CSAH 35 to CSAH 18 from the point of intersection with CSAH 19 northerly to CSAH 37 in Albertville. The City concurs with the change. It was the consensus that this would make it easier for the traveling public and that a resolution approving the change would be brought forth at a future meeting.

Fingalson presented for approval a resolution adopting a new Bridge Funding Policy for Townships and Cities. The two current projects (French Lake and Victor) both concur with the change so exemptions are not required. The current bridge funding policy calls for 50% County funding. The proposed policy would not include any County dollars and only require the townships to pay $10,000. On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, roll call vote carried 4-0 to adopt Resolution #01-80 approving the new Bridge Funding Policy for Townships and Cities.

Fingalson said the award of the contract for the French Lake Township Bridge is being deferred as the Township has not finalized acquiring right of way.

The request for Fingalson and Hawkins to attend the NACE Annual Meeting/Technical Conference in San Diego, CA on March 24-27, 2002 was discussed. Activities include an annual meeting, trade show, management sessions and an opportunity to network with other county engineers. This has been part of the budget for the last five years. Russek moved to authorize attendance, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.

A Building Committee Meeting was held on 11-14-01. A summary of the minutes follows:

Sanitary Sewer Debris Problem: The Buffalo City Engineer requested assistance from the County relating to debris coming from the Jail causing equipment damage and maintenance. County staff have also been involved with debris removal several times a week. The approximate cost of a grinder pump in 1994 was $64,000. The recommendation is to obtain cost updates on grinders from Apex Engineering. The City Engineer will also get information on channel grinder costs. Torfin will discuss the issue at today's supervisory staff meeting and look at possible Jail revisions.

Use of Vacant Space By Court Administration. The requested space is to provide office space for a new person starting in January. The Veterans Services/Civil Defense Director is in need of space, but this area does not provide adequate security. Recommendation is to authorize temporary use of MacMillan's old office for storage of the above mentioned items until remodeling of that area is started.

Building & Court Security Issues. Review of security information. An update of the Wright County Emergency Plan is being completed which will include a section on bio-terrorism. Discussion also involved workplace security issues. Norman suggested that the Security Protocol policy adopted by Human Services be reviewed by other departments for use. It was also suggested a resolution regarding security be sent to AMC requesting it be sent to committee for discussion. Recommendation was for Buskey and Hayes to inventory ground-level vents, trash receptacle locations and locks. Melvin will schedule a committee meeting to update emergency plan procedures. Norman will work on a parking plan and points of entry plan. A meeting was scheduled for December 12 at 9:00 A.M. to further discuss these issues.

At today's meeting, Mattson indicated that when he last toured the Court Administration area, they did not need additional space. He said Veterans Services badly needs additional space. Relating to the sanitary sewer debris problem, Sawatzke felt more monitoring by Jail staff of those causing the problem was warranted. Inmates causing the problem could be reprimanded. Regarding Building and Court Security issues, Sawatzke did not support designating employee parking near the building versus it being for customers. Jude said the Committee discussed this. However, since the 9-11-01 acts of terrorism, these issues have been viewed differently. Administration Department staff will research and provide a parking plan. Mattson moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0.

A Detention Facility Committee meeting was held on 11-14-01. At today's meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0. A summary of the minutes follows:

DLR Study-Current Situation vs. Projected Need. The population figures in the Jail are those which should be realized in 2003 or beyond. The licensed capacity of the Jail is 103 but the facility is run at 75% of capacity because of separation requirements. Discussion involved issues such as failure to obtain executed sentences due to the resistance of judges, staff time involved with violating release conditions, and the need to start working on long and short term planning goals. The recent Quad County Meeting where the potential of a multi-county facility was discussed. The consensus of that group was that future discussions should involve the Sheriff of each respective county. Use of the Benton County facility was discussed. Due to the amount of pretrial cases, the costs associated with transport are high. Jude felt the option of contracting for bed space should be pursued. It was the consensus of the Committee that Norman contact the Quad County group to schedule a meeting with the Administrator/Coordinator and Sheriff of each county to explore possibilities, project out how long the Benton County facility can rent bed space to Wright County, and whether Wright County should contract with Benton County for bed space. Norman was also directed to contact the Northwest Regional Corrections Center (Crookston) to obtain information on their Joint Powers Agreement. Norman envisioned a Committee Of The Whole meeting with department heads in late January (after year-end budget figures have been finalized) to discuss short and long term planning.

Security Locks - Status Of Adtec Detention Systems. Torfin explained that Adtec Detention Systems has gone out of business. A company has been located for spare parts and service for Adtec locks. In the event that parts are not available in the future, the door locks in the Jail will have to be reworked to accept a different lock. Wiring should not be an issue.

A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 11-14-01. At today's meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0. Sawatzke said that the new system to make badges in EOC was adequate and did not support the suggestion of expending $14,122 for a new ID System.

Jail Staffing Plan. Miller explained that the annual jail inspection for 2001 reported staffing deficiencies which resulted in a determination that the jail was not in rule compliance. Sheriff Department staff developed a Staffing Plan that determined that the number of posts necessary to operate the jail is 22. With a shift relief factor of 1.65 the Plan would indicate that 36 correction officers would be needed. With the one position approved in the 2002 budget we will have 34 correction officers. The State is asking the County for a written reply as to how the staffing deficiency will be handled.

Torfin agreed with a comment that the County Board never had an opportunity to review the Staffing Plan prior to it being submitted to the State. However, he feels the Plan is an accurate analysis of what is needed in the jail. Recommendation: Correspond to the State Department of Corrections that a Correction Officer position has been authorized in the 2002 budget, overtime will be used to fill posts, and that due to levy limits staffing needs will be addressed as part of the annual budget process.

Badge ID's For Employees. Norman presented results from a survey conducted by his staff. It appears that Carver has the best system, supported with a Board approved policy statement. He also distributed a proposal from Bill Swing which calls for incorporating ID badges into our existing door security system. Since Swing and Reese were not in attendance, it was decided to lay discussion over to the December 12th Committee meeting schedule.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, all voted to authorize County Board attendance at the Agriculture & Rural Development Community Growth & Investment Conference on 11-26-01 in Willmar, MN. The cost is $35 per person.

Sawatzke brought forth discussion on waste handling. He referenced 11-7-01 correspondence from Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, to Superior FCR Landfill, Inc. relating to their application for a license for expansion of the landfill in Monticello Township. The letter indicates that the proposed expansion does not meet the required and agreed setbacks. Sawatzke wanted to notify the public that this issue is coming forward again. Sawatzke asked that the Board consider what will transpire beyond this immediate lawsuit, both in regard to attorney representation and the court order that the waste handling district portion of the Zoning Ordinance is deemed invalid. Greene Espel has been representing the County on the current litigation but their services will cease after the case is settled. Sawatzke suggested the hire of Tim Thornton, Briggs & Morgan, to assist with advice on future issues relating to waste handling. Jude responded that this was inappropriate prior to diligent discussion by the Board. He noted that the hire was not presented as part of the Agenda. Jude was not opposed to hiring outside counsel but felt Greene Espel's coverage expiration should be discussed. In response to whether future counsel could be discussed as part of the closed session today, Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, indicated that this was beyond the scope of that meeting. He felt this should be the topic of future discussion but did not feel a decision was needed today. Sawatzke moved to authorize the Attorney's Office and Planning & Zoning Office to utilize the services of Tim Thornton, Briggs & Morgan, for the purpose of advice on issues of waste handling in Wright County as they see needed, seconded by Mattson. Jude questioned the parameters of the hire (cost, ending date). Sawatzke clarified that the motion was to use as needed. He did not feel that staff would abuse this. The County Board would have the ability at any time to withdraw this motion if they did not feel it was appropriate. Sawatzke said it is unclear what the future holds with the court ruling on the removal of the waste handling district portion of the Ordinance and felt this was needed to protect the best interest of the public. Mattson said the letter from Salkowski indicates violation and felt that legal advice was needed. Jude stated that this would fall under the umbrella of Greene Espel. Russek supported the motion as he did not feel this would be abused and that the Board could cancel the contract at any time. Jude said he would vote against the motion because the issue to hire someone was brought forth without backup materials in the Board packets. He felt it would be more appropriate to discuss Greene Espel's coverage.

John Baker, Greene Espel, asked to provide an update and timetable on the current motion in response to the questions asked by Sawatzke. Baker said on 10-25-01, the court signed an order. The first paragraph of the order, in part, says that the 4-6-99 decision of Wright County to deny the plaintiff's rezoning petition was reversed and the plaintiff's request for rezoning was granted. Wright County was ordered to approve the necessary license application within 30 days after that application is submitted to the County by the plaintiff. Another portion of the order states that if the court grants Wright County's motion for post trial relief, which is still pending, the terms of this order become void and the action parties have taken would be rescinded. Baker said the focus has been on the 30-day deadline triggered by Superior's application on 11-1-01. Through discussions the past few days, Superior has agreed to extend the 30-day deadline by an additional 14 days so that the following actions can happen. The first would be a face to face meeting on 12-3-01 with staff and Superior engineers to discuss and resolve outstanding issues, including the subject of setback definition. Baker hoped to have information on the outcome of that meeting included in the County Board Agenda packets for 12-11-01 so the Board can consider the license application. The County would then be in the position to comply with the first paragraph of the court order, if that ends up being in advance of the new 12-14-01 deadline. Relating to representation of Greene Espel, Baker said that their representation relates to this case in court. There could be facets which relate to that including discussion of Superior claims and attorneys' fees. If these are not resolved, the case could proceed into 2002. Jude suggested the hire of John Baker due to his competency. Sawatzke said he also felt that Baker was competent and the motion made was not intended to disrespect Baker. The motion carried 3-1 with Jude casting the nay vote.

Bills Approved

American Institutional Supply 1157.73

Ancom Techincal Center 593.35

Annandale Rock Products 4617.34

Aspen Equipment Company 1970.25

Bear Graphics, Inc. 140.54

Benton County Treasurer 161.58

Bowman Distribution 556.71

Briggs & Morgan 5054.80

Buffalo Clinic 283.00

Buffalo Hospital 6757.25

Buffalo City 599.19

Bunniss Enterprises 375.00

Bureau of Criminal Apprehensn 700.00

Central McGowan, Inc. 264.96

Cintas Corp No 748 418.28

City Clearwater 497.40

Climate Air 2025.00

Columbia Propane 341.96

Construction Bulletin Magazine 283.62

Crow River Tools 337.59

Crysteel Distribution, Inc. 11,438.12

Desmarais, Randal 209.10

Elk River Bituminous 2453.76

Exemplar International, Inc. 190.00

Gateway 2000 1391.97

General Pallet, Inc. 200.00

Howard Green Co. 2210.42

H&L Mesabi 978.95

Hanover City 1025.80

Hanson, Chris 219.74

Hickorytech 341.41

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 2155.53

Horizons, Inc. 40,575.00

Interstate Batery Sys of Mpls 133.02

J Craft, Inc. 575.60

Jude, Kenneth 257.72

Kennametal, Inc. 15,674.67

Kris Engineering, Inc. 1917.00

Lake Region Coop Oil 23,980.46

LaPlant Demo, Inc. 892.00

Lawson Products, Inc. 135.47

Lee's Farm & Garden Store 3121.94

M-R Sign Company, Inc. 108.84

Marco Business Products 2054.31

Marks Standard Parts 2884.48

Mattice, Marc 175.54

Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix 2653.57

MinnComm Paging 1139.41

MN Counties Computer Co-op 3379.00

MN County Attorneys Ass'n 1112.30

MN Highway Safety and Research 1568.00

Mobile Vision 13,360.00

Monticello Ford Mercury, Inc. 1104.18

Monticello-Big Lake Hospital 600.00

Moon Motor Sales, Inc. 1909.53

Mostca 100.00

Mountain Stream Sprts & Appar 837.31

Mpls Community College 575.00

Office Depot 738.48

Omann Brothers, Inc. 15,157.24

On Site Monitoring 710.00

OSI Environmental, Inc. 310.00

Precision Prints of Wright Co. 133.45

Qwest 5967.14

RDO Financial Services Co. 838.01

Record Preservation, Inc. 365.71

Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge 605.25

Ryan Motors, Inc. 190.15

Schedule Soft 118.83

Schermann, Robert 351.32

Shoplifters Alternatives 1144.64

Snap-on Industrial 352.08

St. Cloud Stamp & Sign 145.65

St. Michael City 2900.00

StarTribune 678.56

State of Minnesota 358.43

State Supply Co. 140.53

Stepp Mfg. Company, Inc. 585.03

Tools Unlimited 188.97

Total Printing 311.73

Uniforms Unlimited 188.97

US Bank Corporate Trust Servic 408.33

Varitech Industries, Inc. 6615.20

Varro Press 174.95

Waste Management TC West 356.55

West Group Payment Center 418.80

Whitmore Sales 300.00

Wright-Hennepin Electric 2988.46

Wright Lumber & Millwork, Inc. 431.56

Keith Wurm Construction 1725.00

Xcel Energy 486.23

Zee Service Company 217.48

43 payments less than $100 1750.14

Final Total $224,797.78

At 10:30 A.M., the Board recessed into Closed Session to discuss Superior Litigation. The County Board meeting was reconvened at recessed at 11:30 A.M.

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