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Wright County Board Minutes

DECEMBER 24, 2001

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Eichelberg, Sawatzke, Jude, and Russek present. Commissioner Mattson was absent at the beginning of the meeting but arrived just preceding the approval of the Consent Agenda.

Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes of 12-18-01, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Agenda Item E2, "Acknowledge Appointment, Jason Falconer, Deputy Sheriff, Eff. 12-27-01, Grade 5" (Norman); Aud./Treas. Item #4, "Schedule Communications Committee" (Gruber); Item For Consid. #6, "Set Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting" (Norman); Item For Consid. #7, "Post Meeting Remarks" (Sawatzke); Item For Consid. #8, "Central MN Medical Services Update" (Jude); Item For Consid. #9, "Thanks" (Jude). On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: P. Melvin, L. Pawelk, Admin.; R. Hiivala, C. Turnquist, Aud./Treas.; J. Tazelaar, Extension; R. Broadhead, P&Z; R. DeBlois, R. Fisher, T. Korbel, D. Lange, S. Quern, Sheriff.

2. Claim, MCIT, $20,700 (2000 Workers Comp Audit).


1. Claim, Utility Systems of America, Pay Request 2, Charlotte/Martha Collection System: $276,081.88 (Fund 61-Sewer Fund).

2. Claim, McCombs Frank Roos Associates, November Professional Service, Charlotte/Martha Collection System: $7,946.90 (Fund 61-Sewer Fund).


1. Acknowledge promotion of Sara Kuhn to Case Management Position, Eff. 12-26-01, Class D, Step 3. Authorize replacement to fill vacant Case Intake Position. Authorize filling any subsequent opening should position be filled from within.


1. Accept Resignation, Melanie Courier, Program Unit Supervisor, Eff. 1-11-02 & Authorize Replacement.


1. Authorize Temporary Reduction In Hours For Tamara Everett To 32 Hours/Week.

2. Acknowledge Appointment, Jason Falconer, Deputy Sheriff, Eff. 12-27-01, Grade 5.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, presented a plat for Muchenhirn Meadows for approval. On a motion by Russek, seconded by Mattson, all present voted to approve a plat, "MUCHENHIRN MEADOWS", as submitted by Thomas A Haislet, a single person, fee owner, and State Bank of Long Lake, mortgagee, of the property described in part as: That part of the NE1/4 of the SE1/4 of Section 25, Township 199, Range 25, which lies southerly of the recorded plat of BIG WOODS ADDITION; with all outstanding taxes, including green acre liability, if any, having been paid; the park dedication fee has been paid; the roads have been accepted by Franklin Township; and the title opinion prepared by Richard L. Speeter, has been reviewed by Assistant County Attorney Thomas C. Zins, who finds the plat to be ready for recording.

Bids for the 2002 Official County Newspaper were opened at the last meeting. At the recommendation of Gruber, Mattson moved to accept the bid from the Howard Lake Herald and appoint them as the Official County Newspaper for 2002, with Dassel Cokato Enterprise Dispatch being the alternate. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Gruber stated the long distance contract with AT&T will expire at the end of the year. At the request of Gruber, Mattson moved to schedule a Communications Committee meeting for 12-31-01 at 9:00 A.M. The Agenda will include Digital Line Card and AT&T Long Distance Contract Renewal. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried unanimously.

The claims listing was reviewed. The following changes were made: A mileage claim ($82.96) on page 14 which was incorrectly coded to Susan Backes will be coded to Joseph Backes (Gruber); Page 9, Idexx Laboratories ($890.35), Richard Norman, County Coordinator, questioned whether this was incorrectly coded to Furniture & Equipment. Gruber verified that it was the correct line item but the description of the claim should be changed to lab equipment instead of lab supplies. Eichelberg moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.

A Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee meeting was held on 12-19-01. At today's meeting, Russek moved to acknowledge the report, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0. A summary of the minutes follows:

The Group Summary Data for the period of 9-1-00 to 8-31-01 was reviewed reflecting a utilization rate of 95.89% of premiums paid. The renewal rate effective 3-1-02 will not exceed a 5% increase. Medica's average group renewal rates have been in the 13-15% range. The insurance industry trend is moving toward consumers paying a greater portion of prescription costs. Medica will unveil a new plan next year where members will pay 20% of the purchase price. The Committee's consensus is that Medica should conduct employee informational meetings in January. Regarding certain specialty clinics not being Medica providers in 2002, it was clarified that Medica previously contracted with these physicians as a group and now Medica will attempt to negotiate with each individual clinic. The dental provider network in Buffalo remains limited with no expectation for change. Medica offers alternative dental programs with various levels of services and premiums. Dental rates for the voluntary dental plan through MN Benefits Association will increase 32% (adult rate). The annual Employee Benefits Fair is scheduled for 2-6-02.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to schedule a Building Committee Of The Whole meeting for 1-15-02 at 10:30 A.M. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss ID Badges and Security Issues.

Mattson moved to reappoint George Bakeberg (5th District) to the Planning Commission. Bakeberg's term expires 12-31-01. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Jude requested that a Gravel Tax Task Force meeting be scheduled. This will be the initial meeting of the Task Force to discuss how to proceed. It was the consensus that Norman and Gruber contact Task Force members and bring back to the Board potential meeting dates.

Norman said proposals were received for removal of buildings at the former Stemper property. The proposals were for removal of the house, garage or barn material or any combination thereof. Quotes were received as follows: 1) Vern Haag, $173.00 for removal of barn material; 2) Ralph Ordorff, $235.00 for removal of the garage; 3) Ward Carlson, $12,260.00 for removal of house, $1,350.00 for removal of garage; 4) Mike Zumbusch, $12,001.00 for removal of house, $1,001.00 for removal of garage, $101.00 for removal of barn material. In response to a question by Sawatzke on liability, Norman responded the quote documents do not address holding the County harmless. Sawatzke moved to lay this issue over for two weeks to address this issue. Norman can preliminarily advise the high bidders that formal action will be taken at the 1-8-02 meeting. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Norman inquired whether the Board wished to set a Personnel Committee Of The Whole meeting. Interviews for County Assessor were held on 12-21-01. One candidate had a family emergency and had to decline interviewing. This candidate was on the roster to interview. There was another candidate who was not available to interview until 2002 and therefore was not contacted. Russek moved to schedule a Personnel Committee Of The Whole meeting for 1-8-02 at 11:00 A.M. to interview the candidate who had the family emergency. If the candidate declines, the meeting will still occur to discuss the hiring of an Assessor. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

Jude stated that the Central MN Emergency Medical Services no longer exists and that the fund balance was transferred to the Central MN Regional EMS.

Sawatzke referenced recent newspaper articles on County Board Meetings which have reflected statements that occurred after the meeting. He said many times these remarks are written as though they happened at the meeting and gave the readers an inaccurate view of what transpired at the meeting. He referenced a past Board meeting at which he thanked staff and County Board members for their efforts on the Superior Landfill issue. At the meeting, none of the other Board members disagreed with his statements. However, some of the newspaper articles covering this story reflected comments by Jude criticizing Sawatzke for these statements. Sawatzke was unsure why Jude disagreed with the statements. Sawatzke referenced Jude's comments of the County losing 0-3. Sawatzke said the reason Wright County lost to Superior Landfill in federal court was the pre-written document Jude read at a previous meeting. Sawatzke referenced large white boards at the trial filled with quotes by Jude which is what the opposition used for the case against Wright County. Sawatzke said the result is the mega-dump in Wright County which will pollute for decades to come. He was upset with past statements by Jude faulting others and felt Jude was the responsible party. He said that Mattson and Russek were present for a large majority of the trial and if they disagreed, he would like to hear from them. Sawatzke asked that if Jude had comments, he should make them at the Board meeting so that other Board members or staff can respond.

Jude said he expected this to be brought forth and that what is printed in the paper is not gospel. He told Sawatzke that he can thank anyone he wanted, but he did not feel the blame should be placed upon him when a jury found Wright County guilty after four hours. Jude said that in federal court, it was brought forth that Wright County did not want outside garbage brought in. The opposition picked up on this and said the County would be willing to take out of State but not out of County garbage. He felt if Wright County's case were strong, it would have won on its own merits. He said Wright County's strategy cost the insurance company more than $5 million.

Sawatzke replied that Jude suggests a $5 million loss when the insurance company only pays up to $2 million. Jude stated that this figure relates to the court cases Wright County has lost with regard to Randy's Sanitation and Superior Landfill. His statements related to the County's philosophy of not liking garbage. He said the Board represents the people in Wright County and not personal beliefs. Jude referenced a statement previously made by Sawatzke about having a bad jury and poor judge in the Superior issue. Jude said the comments he made was what he believed in and he wrote it. He did not feel the Findings of Fact would hold up in court. Jude felt that when Sawatzke had made up his mind on something on past issues, that Sawatzke made sure things proceeded in his way or he made it difficult.

Russek interjected that the only time the jury or anyone else heard anything about Wright County not wanting out of state garbage was at the trial. He said the only evidence the opposition had on this was in the statement Jude read. This issue was never discussed or raised at Planning Commission meetings and said their concern was environmental. Russek said they were not concerned with where the garbage was coming from but rather the size of the landfill. Jude said the former County Attorney, Wyman Nelson, made statements about not wanting to be a dumping ground and that Tom Zins wrote the findings of fact that were brought up at the trial.

In response to Jude's comment about Sawatzke citing a bad jury and poor judge, Sawatzke said that he was disappointed with the decisions made. What was not allowed to be brought out at the court hearing was at the same time the opposition was claiming landfills don't leak, Superior Landfill was being fined $10,000 from the MPCA for landfill leaks. Sawatzke said Jude makes statements outside of the Board meeting where staff and Board members are not there to defend actions. These statements imply that this action occurred in the Board Room. Jude said that the County should rethink their position on landfills and garbage if they continue to lose. He would rather negotiate than take the all or nothing approach.

Mattson said the articles which contain information that did not transpire at the Board meeting do not include those articles in the Journal Press. Mattson referenced Jude's statement that he worked for the people of Wright County. Mattson said Tom Kelly and Wyman Nelson were both voted in by the people of Wright County. Issues are brought forth and recommendations are made by staff and the Planning Commission which the Board tries to follow. Jude responded that in a previous vote relating to an issue in Maple Lake Township, Mattson voted against the Planning Commission recommendation to approve. Jude felt that Mattson followed recommendations depending on the issue and was not consistent. Sawatzke said that vote related to the establishment of land use for that area (Maple Lake), different from the landfill issue which related to a recommendation. The concept of establishing a land use plan and granting an ordinance is a County Board prerogative. On the issue of rezoning, the Planning Commission has a Board approved ordinance and plan to use as a guide.

In closing, Sawatzke said he was satisfied that he had gotten the point across that issues should be discussed at the meeting. He said that Jude should think about who he is criticizing with regard to the landfill. Jude replied that he would not follow Sawatzke's leadership on this and that since 1993, everything has gone the hard way with regard to garbage. When asked to provide a specific instance, Jude said that Sawatzke worked hard to change contracts held for the compost facility as he did not like prices the County was receiving for reject materials. He said Sawatzke didn't work with haulers and lost Randy's Sanitation. He said the SWTF always voted with Sawatzke. Sawatzke responded that the reason he fought to lower reject material costs to the County was that the County was paying $40/ton where a private hauler paid $30/ton. He did not feel the taxpayers should pay more. Jude said there was a contract and Sawatzke didn't like it. He felt the people of Wright County did not know the whole story.

Bills Approved

AAA Striping Service, Inc. 2846.76

Advanced Filing Concepts Inc. 3264.69

AMI Imaging Systems, Inc. 5594.10

ANCOM Technical Center 1803.79

Anderson, Earl, Inc. 2908.74

Annandale City 1387.55

Anselment, Greg 500.00

APEC Corporation 375.68

ARDEA Communications 437.50

AT&T 4172.86

Bakeberg, Kathleen 109.68

Bauerly Brothers Companies 5074.56

Bauman, Lawrence 405.42

Benchmark Computer Learning 1656.00

BEST, Inc. 4146.26

Bogart, Pederson & Ass., Inc 1800.00

Brock White Co., LLC 804.50

Buffalo Communications, Inc. 4895.33

Buffalo Drug 1602.85

Buffalo City 2647.65

Buttweilers Do All 339.85

Central Lakes College 2139.42

CDW Government, Inc. 472.65

Central Lakes College 2139.42

Central Micro Systems, Inc. 975.25

Central MN Mental Health Cntr. 150.00

Cintas Corp No. 748 253.59

Climate Air 1361.02

Cokato City 1743.63

Commissioner of Trans. 3241.00

Corrections Products Co. LTD 492.13

CPS Technology Solutions 448.84

Dahlgren Shardlow and Uban 4299.50

Dales 66 101.18

Days Inn ­ St. Paul 235.04

Devore, Jeff 250.00

Diers, Carter 179.52

East Central Regional Juvenile 8181.25

Eichelberg, Elmer 333.53

Facility Systems, Inc. 4556.15

Fingelson, Wayne 509.44

Force America, Inc. 690.00

Frontier Precision, Inc. 459.07

Gateway Companies, Inc. 20,406.06

General Rental Center 703.94

W Grainger, Inc. 899.12

Howard Green Co. 1835.85

Greif Brothers Corporation 974.62

Hawkins, Virgil 321.50

Hazelton Law Offices 1952.97

Hickory Tech 223.77

Hickorytech 676.63

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 3759.58

Howard Lake City 1577.77

Idexx Laboratories, Inc. 890.35

Imageware Software, Inc. 5909.08

Jahnke, Chris 206.04

Kirscht, Bernard 400.32

Lab Safety Supply, Inc. 211.54

Laerdal Medical Corporation 543.15

Lake Region Coop Oil 20,606.19

LaPlant Demo, Inc. 543.20

Lipelt, Kent 119315

M-R Sign Company, Inc. 22,029.68

Maple Lake City 1221.30

Marco Business Products 1522.83

Marks Standard Parts 5573.13

Martin, Donita 183.60

Masy's Corporation 2628.87

McCombs Frank Roos Associates 7946.90

McLeod Treatment Programs, Inc. 148.09

The Metro Group, Inc. 1059.68

Miller, Nathan 285.40

MinnComm Paging 551.60

Minnesota Chemical Company 331.99

Minnesota Copy Systems 7617.95

MN Transportation Alliance 785.93

Monticello Auto Body 430.45

Montrose City 415.69

Morries Buffalo Ford Mercury 16,867.33

Mumford Sanitation 140.03

Munson, Margaret 195.16

Northern Tool & Equipment Co. 223.57

Northstar Repro Products, Inc. 113.70

Norwest Contractors, Inc. 1650.00

Office Depot 4846.80

Olsen Chain & Cable Co. Inc. 369.62

On Site Monitoring 11,789.00

Ostego City 12,319.55

Pacific Concepts 261.09

Performance Office Papers 756.31

Phillips Petroleum Company 1026.70

Poach, Todd 100.00

Postmaster-Buffalo 561.20

Qwest 1576.70

Record Preservation, Inc. 217.88

Reliant Energy Minnegasco 2052.10

Retrofit Recycling, Inc. 2325.00

Road Machinery & Supplies Co. 163.74

Rockford Township 2410.01

Royal Tire, Inc. 3871.95

RS Eden 810.60

Russek, Jack 262.08

Ryan Motors, Inc. 359.18

Sand Creek Group, LTD 1800.00

Schliesing, Sherry 189.38

Schmidt, Donald 379.24

SEH 629.46

Sheriff's Youth Program of MN 3465.00

Snap-On Industrial 135.95

Software House International In 4600.13

St. Cloud Times 329.86

St. Michael Veterinary Clinic 123.55

State of MN 140.96

Stearns County Treasurer 303.70

Strategic Technologies, Inc. 3250.00

Successories Ridgedale Ctr 14 887.05

Sweeney Brothers Tractor 435.87

Swing, William 113.70

Titus, Kevin 113.56

Total Printing 2264.83

Twin City Concrete Products Co 1036.26

United Rentals-HT Branch 229 2450.46

Unlimited Electric, Inc. 1768.75

Utility Systems of America 276,081.88

Vander Vegt, Jonathan, 327.99

Verizon Wireless 622.98

Vibes Technologies, Inc. 3358.78

Voss Lighting 467.26

Waste Management TC West 330.62

Weather Watch, Inc. 1920.00

West Group Payment Center 488.00

Woodland Township 1956.23

Wright County Highway Dept. 19,906.09

Wright-Hennepin Electric 3133.76

Xcel Energy 870.52

Zylstra, David 421.40

55 Payments less than $100 2951.97

Final Total $615,877.29

The meeting adjourned at 9:55 A.M.

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