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Wright County Board Minutes

NOVEMBER 27, 2001

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

Russek moved to approve the minutes of 11-20-01, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Amend Aud./Treas. Item #3, "Set Public Hearing for 2002 Solid Waste Debt Service Charge" (Gruber); Aud./Treas. Item #5, "Set Bid Opening, 2002 Official County Newspaper" (Gruber); Hwy. Engineer Item #2, "Resolution Changing CSAH 35 To CSAH 18 In Albertville" (Backes); Hwy. Engineer Item #3, "11-27-01 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting" (Jude); Item For Consid. #3, "Schedule Date For Assessor Interviews" (Backes); Item For Consid. #4, "Correspondence From City Of Howard Lake RE: Water Tower Memorandum Of Understanding" (Jude); Item For Consid. #5, "Refer Rental Of Stemper Property To Ways & Means Committee" (Jude). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: R. DesMarais, Assessor; D. Wines, Bldg. Maint.; R. Darsow, C. Strand, Sheriff.

2. Claim, MCIT, $2,500.00 (Deductible, Marschel v. Wright).

3. Authorize Signatures, Law Enforcement Contract, Waverly.

4. Claim, MFRA, $15,983.93.

5. O/T Report, Period Ending 11-9-01.

6. 3rd Quarter Training Reports.


1. Recognize Termination, Heidi Ulberg, Case Intake Supervisor, Eff. 11-7-01 & Authorize Replacement


1. Approve Hire, Jolette Adelman, Technical Support Specialist, Eff. 11-28-01 (Class F, Step 2).


1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezoning:

A. Approve Request To Rezone From AG To A/R, Richard Danielson (Marysville Twp.).

Eichelberg moved to appoint Bernie Burke to the GRRL Board Of Trustees, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0. Burke will replace Mary Volkmann whose term expires 12-31-01.

Russek moved to adopt Resolution #01-81, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. The resolution will be carried forward as a platform issue at the AMC Conference.

Resolution 01-81

WHEREAS, the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, and subsequent cases of anthrax have raised a new awareness regarding security issues;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the State of Minnesota provide funding for all mandated public facility security improvements originating from the legislature, State agency, or the judiciary;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the State of Minnesota exempt from the levy limits expenditures relating to security for our public facilities.

Sheriff Gary Miller presented a retirement plaque to Steve Quill. Quill was hired in 1973 and worked in the positions of Dispatcher, Patrol, Patrol Sergeant, and Safety Officer. He was a member of the dive team, pistol team and emergency response team. In 1995, Quill started working in Sheriff Administration with equipment inventory, safety training and providing assistance to the Boat & Water Division. Quill has been the firearms instructor since 1981 and formulated a plan for competitive training of officers. Sheriff Miller said the efforts of Quill have resulted in a safety record second to none. Quill was thanked for his years of service.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, introduced Kayla Ahlm, who was hired as an Office Assistant in the License Bureau several months ago. Ahlm was welcomed.

At the 11-6-01 County Board meeting, the Board authorized review of a County Ditch 10 clean out request from Ray Juncewski. Gruber met with Mattson and Saxton (SWCD) and found there is an approximate 1/2 mile section which may need some clean out of trees and brush. It was the consensus that Gruber and Saxton review maps, determine whether clean out would be completed this Fall or next Spring, and obtain proposals.

At the request of Gruber, Russek moved to set a Public Hearing Date of 12-11-01 at 9:10 A.M. for the 2002 Solid Waste Debt Service Charge. A one week public notice is required. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

Eichelberg moved to set the Bid Opening for the 2002 Official County Newspaper for 12-18-01 at 9:10 A.M., seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

The claims listing was reviewed. Gruber noted two corrections: Page 6, DNR ($110.00), code to 6804 instead of 6245; Page 8, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge ($731.22), code to 6338 not 6411. Eichelberg questioned a claim on Page 12, Climate Air ($3091.32). Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, explained that this is for the old furnace at Public Works, not for the new furnace. Eichelberg moved to approve the claims, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.

At the recommendation of the Highway Engineer, Sawatzke moved to award the contract for the French Lake Township Bridge Replacement Project (SAP 86-599-23) to the low bidder, Duininck Bros., Inc. in the amount of $458,309.18. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Fingalson recommended approval of a draft resolution redesignating a portion of CSAH 35 in the City of Albertville as an extension of CSAH 18. The City of Albertville concurs with the change. This will not affect the State Aid mileage account. The motivation is the reduction in the signing budget and to assist the traveling public. This road is identified in the Transportation Plan as a candidate for jurisdictional change to the City of Albertville. This may occur when the population reaches 5000. Russek moved to adopt Resolution 01-82, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Due to weather conditions, Jude inquired whether the Transportation Committee Of The Whole meeting scheduled for today should be canceled. Fingalson felt the meeting should be held. If people were unable to make the meeting, issues could be referred to a future meeting if so desired.

The meeting recessed at 9:31 A.M. and reconvened at 9:37 A.M.

Julie Vergin, Wright County Humane Society Board of Directors, voiced concern with the County Board's recent action to cut funding to the Humane Society from $6000/year to $3000/year, as $3000/year was also offered to the Crossroads Animal Shelter. The County has contributed to the Humane Society for the past 16 years with funds being earmarked to assist with rent. Over the past several years, these funds have been used for programs, some of which include Cruelty Investigations, Animeals and Fix-Your-Pet (Sterilization). The last contract held between the County and the Humane Society was in 1998. By statute definition, Vergin said there have only been four dangerous dog calls in the last five years. The Humane Society is on call 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. She said Sheriff Miller indicated there has been no problem with their service. Vergin explained that they have a licensed investigator who works closely with the Sheriff's Department on investigations. Vergin requested the Board revote on the issue based upon the information provided in their packets.

Considerable discussion followed on contract language, services of the Humane Society, and the County's responsibility relative to animals. In response to a question by Sawatzke, Vergin explained that the contract sent to the County is one that is sent to all cities and townships. A flat fee would be charged instead of collecting for extra services. She said there are 1200-1500 animal nuisance calls per year received by the Sheriff's Department. Mattson inquired whether the Humane Society could handle all the animal impounds for Wright County, as he thought both shelters may be full a majority of the time. Vergin said that if there is an existing impound contract, the Humane Society is required to take the stray. If the shelter is full, foster homes are used. Sawatzke said he has always viewed the County's annual contribution as rent subsidy. He recalled that as recent as a few years ago, the contribution went from $5400/year to $6000/year due to a rent increase. Vergin said the new shelter has been paid for. Sawatzke said the dangerous dog issue came up several years ago when the Humane Society was looking for funding for their shelter. The County had to impound dangerous dogs at veterinary clinics at a cost. Sawatzke said the contract in 1998 was signed by the Sheriff but was not signed by the Board Chair. The contract contained a clause indicating that dangerous dogs would not be accepted by the Humane Society and that is the one service the County desired to have. In 1999, the contract was not signed. The service will now be available from both organizations. Vergin commented that the $500/month donation would be very generous if it were thought to be solely for dangerous dog containment. She said that the funding is spent for the residents of Wright County to deal with animal issues including impounding. In response to Sawatzke, Vergin said that the Crossroads Animal Shelter does not provide a sterilization program nor have a licensed investigator to provide services related to animal cruelty investigations.

Eichelberg referenced the recent Board action to offer $3000 to both the Humane Society and the Crossroads Animal Shelter. He understood that if either party did not agree to the donation, the action would be void. He suggested that if the Humane Society was not in agreement with the proposed donation, that the issue be sent to Committee for discussion with both parties and the Sheriff. Sawatzke supported the services provided by the Humane Society. He said that there are now two organizations willing to provide services and thought each should be treated equally.

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the largest problem for the County involves stray animals. Transport of these animals is generally provided by the Humane Society, not the Sheriff's Department. The value with this assistance is that deputies can then attend to other matters. The County becomes financially obligated once an animal is impounded because of cruelty. He was unsure of the liability with strays.

Eichelberg moved to refer this issue to the Ways & Means Committee, to direct Asleson to research the County's authority, and to involve the Sheriff's Department in discussions. Board action from several weeks ago was referenced which indicated that if the Humane Society did not accept the donation, the motion would be void. Eichelberg withdrew his motion to allow Asleson to research the issue and to await response from the Humane Society on the offer of $3000/year. Vergin indicated that they had not received the letter sent by the County Coordinator with the offer of $3000. She said they learned of the issue in the newspaper. The County Coordinator was directed to resend the letter to Vergin. Sawatzke moved to lay this issue over for the purpose of gathering more information from the Attorney's Office regarding the responsibility of the County and to await a response from the Humane Society. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

At 10:00 A.M., Jude closed the bid process for the Steel Sign Truck Body. Estimated cost is $50,000. One bid was received from Truck Utilities of St. Paul, $76,959.03. Sawatzke moved to lay the bid over for review and recommendation in two weeks, seconded by Russek. Discussion followed on whether the County can rebid. Fingalson will consult with the County Attorney's Office to determine options. The motion carried 5-0.

On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to schedule the interviews for County Assessor for 12-21-01 starting at 8:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Eichelberg moved to refer to the Ways & Means Committee the response from the City of Howard Lake regarding the Water Tower Memorandum of Understanding. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, will contact the City Administrator to clarify information included with the letter relating to costs the City has incurred.

Russek moved to refer to the Ways & Means Committee discussion relating to the land rental of the former Stemper property. The issue relates to miscommunication on transfer from the old to the new renter. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried unanimously.

Bills Approved

Albion Township 1164.10

American Bio Medica Corp. 354.00

Ancom Technical Center 1162.24

Annandale Rock Products 494.25

AT&T 5484.98

B&D Plumbing & Heating 224.52

Beaudry Propane, Inc. 1198.50

Buffalo Clinic 379.00

Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Comm. 324.95

Bull HN Information Systems 271.58

Chatham Township 568.20

Cintas Corp No 748 169.06

Climate Air 4436.50

Construction Bulletin 175.00

Decorative Designs, Inc. 175.53

Dept. of Natural Health 110.00

Granite Pest Control Services 104.37

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 607.53

Loberg Electric 665.83

Marks Standard Parts 339.06

Marties Farm Service 102.24

Meeker County Sheriff 103.30

Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix, Inc. 168.39

MN Counties Computer Co-op 4785.62

MN Highway Safety and Research


Monticello Ford Mercury Inc. 529.08

Morrie's Buffalo Chrysler 794.46

Morries Buffalo Ford Mercury 173.47

Office Depot 1937.19

Postmaster-Buffalo 783.00

Qwest 1509.40

Ramada Inn & Conference Center 621.04

Reliant Energy Minnegasco 1191.02

Royal Tire - St. Cloud 2617.22

RS Eden 1071.85

Russells Lock & Key 141.86

Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge 731.22

M Smith Publishers 367.00

St. Cloud Times 601.85

State of Minnesota ITD 168.28

Suburban Propane 249.02

Sweeney Brothers Tractor 139.28

Tires Plus 258.49

Total Printing 113.64

Uniforms Unlimited 691.14

University of Minnesota 150.00

Verizon Wireless 244.85

Wright-Hennepin Electric 293.84

Xcel Energy 113.30

19 payments less than $100 848.49

Final Total $40,300.74

The meeting adjourned at 10:20 A.M.

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