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Wright County Board Minutes

MARCH 26, 2002

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

Jude moved to approve the minutes of 3-19-02, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #5, "Cancel Technology Committee Scheduled For 3-26-02 @ 10:30 A.M. & Reschedule For 4-24-02" (Hiivala). Jude moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: S. Backes, Admin.; K. Ahlm, Auditor; R. Johnson, Bldg. Maint.; N. Ellis, K. Johnson, W. Luetgers, W. Workman, Highway; S. Bjore, T. Endreson, D. Fundingsland, Sheriff.

2. O/T Report, Period Ending 3-15-02.


1. Approve Hire, Dan Weber, Property Appraiser, Eff. 4-1-02 (Step 3).


1. Set Bid Opening For Seasonal Requirements, Ways & Means Committee, 4-24-02 @ 10:00 A.M.

2. Authorize Hire, Joel Ruder, Mechanic, Eff. 4-15-02 (Step 4).


1. Accept Planning & Zoning 2001 Annual Report.

A moment of silence followed for families of Wright County employees who have lost family members or who are experiencing illnesses.

Bob Hiivala, Chief Deputy Auditor, presented the claims listing for approval. On a motion by Jude, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Amendment Number One to the Food Service Agreement with Best, Inc. was discussed. Changes relate to the cost of meals and dates of the contract. The contract dates will run from 12-1-01 to 12-31-02 with an option to continue the contract for two years. Sawatzke questioned the costs listed in Section 2(b) of the Agreement. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, explained that the language relates to the County's costs for service if Marilyn Miller continues as a Wright County employee. All other food service employees are employed by Best, Inc. If Miller leaves Wright County employment, the schedule reflects an increased cost to the County. Jude moved to approve Amendment Number One to the Food Service Agreement with Best, Inc., seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0.

Brad Wozney, SWCD, informed the Board that one position on the Water Management Task Force (WMTF) requires County Board appointment. Former WMTF member Marilyn Gordon of South Haven stepped down as Mayor and the Mayor's Association has now nominated St. Michael Mayor Wayne Kessler as their representative. Sawatzke moved to appoint Kessler to the WMTF, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.

Barb Chaffee, Central MN Jobs & Training Services (CMJTS) Executive Director, reviewed with the Board their annual report, financial audit, job vacancy survey, region sub meeting and County report. In Central MN, 79% of workers hold a full-time job and the job tenure is approximately 16 years. Nearly 100% commute to the metro area and the annual salary is $20,000-$50,000. CMJTS has received a $3 million grant to assist with rural health care and to train nurses and technicians. The County report reflects residents who have been affected by layoffs. The goal is to retrain during the layoff and attempt to re-employ the person at the same salary level as they previously held. The Joint Powers involves the counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Renville, Wright and Sherburne. In response to Mattson pointing out a fluctuation in the program in the last year of over $1 million, it was explained that the report figures reflect funding required to run programs. Jude moved to pass the agreement, seconded by Sawatzke. Discussion followed on effective dates of the youth portion of the agreement. It was explained that the youth services are not new services and are mandated. The reason they are listed separately from the adult services is that they have different effective dates. Jude and Sawatzke withdrew their original motion so that new language can be submitted clarifying the effective dates of the Agreement. Jude moved to lay the Agreement over for two weeks, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0. Norman pointed out that language changes will also have to be made in the documents signed by the other counties involved.

At 9:47 A.M., Eichelberg closed the regular meeting and entered into Public Hearing for the Proposed Amendments to the Wright County Tobacco Ordinance. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the County adopted the Ordinance just over three years ago. The first round of retailer compliance checks were completed last year. County staff has since met to review procedures and the proposed amendments were drafted. The Ways & Means Committee approved some procedural changes in February. Asleson detailed each of the proposed amendments. Public comment was also being received today on the intent to increase the licensing fee for tobacco retailers, currently set at $75/year. A survey of license fees was completed which reflected: Benton ($150), Meeker ($100), McLeod ($150), Sherburne ($50), Stearns ($200), Isanti ($150), City of Annandale ($50), City of Howard Lake ($50), and City of Elk River ($200).

Asleson explained that the County Board is the licensing authority and has the ability to revoke licenses or penalize for tobacco sales to minors. Each community may take over this authority. There are three cities within Wright County who perform their own licensing and compliance checks. Jude pointed out that the County is mandated to perform the compliance checks.

Adam Nardo, Circle C Convenience Stores, said the emphasis seems to be on fining companies who are not found in compliance. His concern was that a lot of companies are working to prohibit sales to minors and felt the emphasis should be placed on the cashiers. He was concerned with minors being sent into establishments without a police officer. He felt that the push should be to stop youth from smoking and not in generating revenue. Jude responded that originally there was grant funding to assist with compliance checks. That is no longer the case. If the licensing fees do not cover the cost of performing the checks, the taxpayers will have to fund the difference. That is why an increase in licensing fees is being reviewed. Sawatzke pointed out that the current ordinance does allow for the County to fine the cashier. He added that some procedural issues have been addressed.

Patricia Norman, Casey's General Stores (Rockford, Cokato, Montrose) distributed paperwork outlining their training program for cashiers, who are trained four times per year. She requested stricter penalties and felt cashiers should also be fined. Sawatzke said that could be the case in most instances. However, he was unsure whether a clerk should be fined if they were not trained properly. Norman said she would be willing to work with other retailers on a training program. She felt the person who sells tobacco products is ultimately responsible.

Asleson said that the Ways & Means Committee approved in February procedural changes relating to compliance checks. These included mailing violation notices to the retailers within 2-3 days, sending in an adult into the store at the time of the compliance check (not necessarily a law enforcement officer), following up with the retailer the next day to help identify the clerk on duty, and citing the clerk by mail. These changes will be implemented this year. The first offense fine to a clerk is $75, the second within 24 months is $200. Fines were not issued to clerks last year but the plan is to include that during the compliance checks this year.

John Hanson, Tom Thumb (Hanover) endorsed assessing fines to violators and felt that the violator should be informed immediately. Last year when the compliance checks were performed, violators were not notified for over 30 days. Response was that providing notice to the retailer was one of the procedural things changed. Notice will now be received in 2-3 days. Jon Young, Public Health, said they do not issue citations on site as retailers contacted one another to warn them of compliance checks. A retailer in Maple Lake informed Jude that this does happen. In one instance, a store was warned of the compliance checks by another retailer but they still sold to the minor. Jude said the program is out there to stop youth from smoking, not to fine people.

The Public Hearing closed at 10:14 A.M. and the regular Board meeting was reconvened.

Asleson said Board action today would be to adopt the amendments which would be effective 5-1-02. If the Board chose to increase the licensing fees, that decision could be made today but a resolution would be required. Any change in the licensing fee would not take effect until 2003. Lengthy discussion followed on what increase should be made to the licensing fee. Asleson said the Sheriff's Office expended $8500 last year toward compliance checks. That would not include costs incurred by Public Health, Attorney or Auditor staff. Presently, there are approximately 100 licensees. With the current $75.00 annual fee, that would generate approximately $7500. The consensus of the Board that the license fee should not create revenue but should cover costs expended. Sawatzke moved to request Asleson to bring back to the Board within 30 days a resolution increasing the licensing fee to $150, seconded by Mattson. Mike Elsenpeter felt the Board was establishing fees without having any facts to base them upon. Jude reiterated there is no longer grant funding available to run the program which they are mandated to run. Either the program would be run by license fees or it would be taken from levied funds. The motion carried 4-0. On a motion by Jude, second by Mattson, all voted to adopt the amendments to the Tobacco Ordinance. The amendments will be effective 5-1-02. The amendments to the ordinance establish a 30-day deadline for payment of administrative fines and the same time limit for filing of requests for hearing in connection with violation notices issued under the Ordinance. The other amendments clarify procedural matters related to license applications and violations of the ordinance. Copies of the amendments to the Wright County Tobacco Ordinance, as well as the full text of the Ordinance, may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Wright County Coordinator at 763-682-7378.

Correspondence was received from Mn/DOT requesting appointment of an elected official and technical staff to the TH 25 Advisory Committee. Jude moved to appoint Sawatzke and Wayne Fingalson (or his designee) to this Committee, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0. Norman was directed to respond to Mn/DOT informing them of these appointments.

Notice was received from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that an Annual Assessment Meeting of the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant will be held on 3-26-02 from 1:00-3:00 P.M. at the Xcel Energy Training Center. This was presented as an informational item.

The Wright County Historical Society has been selected to be a host site in 2004 for a Smithsonian Museum traveling exhibit entitled, "Barn Again! Celebrating An American Icon." The Wright County Historical Society will be one of five or six host sites, statewide, for this exhibit. The exhibit will promote the rural aspect and history of Wright County and highlight the extensive collection of barn photographs held in their archives. Sawatzke stated it was a very competitive process to become a host site, reflecting the excellent work being done at the Historical Society.

Jude moved to cancel the Technology Committee Meeting scheduled for today at 10:30 A.M. and reschedule it for 4-24-02. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

Bills Approved

Albertville Body Shop, Inc. 450.81

American Institutional Supply 118.63

Ancom Technical Center 767.67

Anderson, Mary 131.61

Annandale City 966.00

Armored Fire, Inc. 115.02

AT&T 6711.25

B&B Products, Inc. 11,172.07

B&D Plumbing & Heating 112.24

Bachman Printing 258.37

Bear Graphics, Inc. 471.17

Beaudry Oil Co. 1808.37

Best, Inc. 4089.78

Bowman Distribution 592.40

Boyer Truck Parts 876.77

BSN Sports 182.35

Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Commerci 136.60

Bureau of Criminal Apprehensn 120.00

Catco Parts Service 570.50

Catholic Charities 34,538.27

Cintas Corp No 748 182.52

Climate Air 3488.14

CPS Technology Solutions 276.14

Decorative Designs, Inc. 175.53

Facility Systems, Inc. 143.78

Fernendez, Maribel 584.39

Gateway 2000 2611.38

Gordys Foods 122.26

Hello Direct 134.98

Hennepin County Sheriff 118.00

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 583.93

Holt Motors, Inc. 159.75

HTE, Inc. 800.00

Interstate Battery Sys of Mpls 379.94

J Craft, Inc. 1599.10

Jans, Brian 150.00

Kramber, Jason 328.73

Laurent, Michael 447.31

Little Falls Machine 2809.86

M-R Sign Company, Inc. 256.06

Marco Business Products 14,292.13

Marlin Leasing Corporation 1139.40

Masys Corporation 2628.87

Meteorlogix 1088.28

Metro Cash register Systems 624.00

Miller-Davis 161.62

MinnComm Paging 140.39

Minnesota Supply Company 348.85

Monroe, Geoff 212.50

Monticello Ford Mercury, Inc. 146.99

Monticello-Big Lake Hospital 280.00

Monticello City 249,492.53

Morrie's Buffalo Chrysler 250.49

Morries Buffalo Ford Mercury 585.36

Mountain Stream Sports & Appar 641.40

MTI Distributing, Inc. 1349.06

North American Salt Co. 14,382.13

North Central Radar 1785.00

Office Depot 1338.12

On Site Monitoring 13,110.00

Peterson, Mary 385.44

Phillips Petroleum Company 424.36

Prestidge, Jamie 150.00

Quinaln Publishing Co. 239.73 299.00

Reliant Energy Minnegasco 4120.14

Rigid Hitch Incorporated 360.18

Royal Tire, Inc. 157.45

Ryan Motors, Inc. 862.70

Schliesing, Sherry 305.32

Schmiginsky, Douglas 150.00

Setina Mfg. Co., Inc. 368.80

Software House Internatonal In 232.17

Sprint-Local Telecom Division 158.63

St. Cloud Hospital 601.28

St. Cloud Times 221.00

St. Michael Veterinary Clinic 214.48

State of Minnesota ITD 194.36

Stockholm Township 335.00

Tennant 146.43

Thinesen, Philip 123.42

Total Printing 1911.15

Traffic Control Corporation 2266.50

Trimin Systems User Group 129.84

University of Minnesota 993.47

Varner Sheet Metal, Inc. 967.58

Verizon Wireless 669.57

Washington Cty Sheriff 840.00

Weed, Dawn 213.95

Weighing Systems & Services 180.00

Weinberger, James 129.20

West Publication Company 4274.98

Westside Equipment 110.62

Wirth, Stewart 188.99

Wright-Hennepin Electric 482.50

Xcel Energy 994.09

46 payments less than $100 1915.66

Final Total $409,856.79

The meeting adjourned at 10:33 A.M.

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