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Wright County Board Minutes

APRIL 16, 2002

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

Mattson made the following correction was made to the minutes of 4-09-02: Page 4, 9th paragraph, from "Rick Bonk" to "Fred Bonk." Mattson moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #2, "Court Appeal" (Jude). On a motion by Jude, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.

On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Jude, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:


1. Performance Appraisals: T. Frazier, Atty.; D. Chapman, Bldg. Maint.; P. Miller, Extension, N. Carlson, Hwy.; L. Schmidt, Park; C. Day, B. Gabrelcik, Recorder; A. Chaney, L. Goenner, T. Sandin, T. Wachter, R. Williams, Sheriff.

2. Claim, Frank Madden, $9,895.51.


1. Claim, Utility Systems Of America, Payment Request #5, $2,006.40 (Fund 61 Sewer).


1. Acknowledge Hire, Benjamin Christensen, Case Intake Deputy (Account Specialist), Eff. 4-17-02 (Step 3).


1. Refer To Building Committee: Discuss Options For Humidity Problems In Public Works Building.

2. Set Letting Date, 2002 Bituminous Overlay Program (Contract 0201), 5-21-02 @ 9:30 A.M.

3. Approval Of "Wright County Highway Right Of Way Plat No. 44 & 45, CSAH 14 (SP 86-614-08 & SP 86-614-09).


1. Authorize Signatures On Federal Boat & Water Supplemental Grant Agreement.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, introduced Wayne Ruckle, Buffalo Postmaster. Currently, the Post Office delivers mail to each department within the Courthouse. Ruckle proposed to change to a single point delivery as a result of budget cuts within the postal service. These budget cuts are a result of the economy, anthrax scares, the 9-11-01 incident, and reduced mail volume. The Post Office is addressing ways to provide the same service while saving office time. The proposal would be for County staff to either pick the mail up from the Post Office or have it delivered to one site at the Courthouse. If the mail were picked up, the County could potentially receive the mail 1-2 hours earlier. If it were brought to the Courthouse, delivery time was estimated at 10:30 A.M. each day. This would not affect mail delivery to the Human Services Center or the Public Works Building. First class mail would be sorted but County staff would be responsible for sorting newspapers and magazines. Ruckle estimated that if implemented, this new process would save the Post Office 1 hour of time per day (sorting and delivery). In response to a question by Richard Norman, County Coordinator, Ruckle said that the $.03 cent increase in postage will be effective in June. The Postmaster has proposed that after this increase, there will not be another until 2004. He said the Post Office has suffered financially with the anthrax situation. They also incur business costs like any other business, without receiving discounts. If the County decided not to accept the proposal, Ruckle asked for this response in writing.

Gruber voiced concerns including mail for Court Administration and Sheriff (sensitive mail or evidence), space for mail delivery and staff time. Gruber said they currently have a staff person performing outgoing mail duties for 1-1.5 hours/day. Sorting would be in addition to that. Another issue to be addressed would be whether the mail would be delivered to each department or whether departments would pick their mail up. Gruber indicated that the Government Center is a large customer of the Post Office. The Assessor's Office alone spends $15,000-$16,000 to send out property notices.

Monica Keskey, Post Office Letter Carrier, said she is one of the carriers that serve the Courthouse. She said the amount of mail varies greatly. She questioned what would happen with evidence packages associated with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Ruckle said that all mail is handled with the same security by the Post Office.

Sawatzke suggested that the Post Office continue sorting the newspapers and magazines from an efficiency standpoint. The mail could then be delivered to the Courthouse for pickup by departments. Ruckle felt this would be a viable option. It was clarified that certified mail could be signed for by the Auditor's Office as long as it wasn't restricted delivery. For restricted delivery and registered mail, the Post Office would continue to deliver directly to those departments. Jude stated that having a central mail delivery area has been discussed in the overall security of the Courthouse. Due to the limited area of the current mail room and the Auditor's Office, Jude suggested that the Veterans Service/Civil Defense Office be moved to the office space vacated by Court Services. In that way, a mail room could be placed next door to the Auditor's Office. Gruber felt that they could sort mail in the Auditor's Office for a short time until the Veterans Service/Civil Defense Office was vacated. It was felt that designated staff from each department could be given a key to the mail area.

Gruber said that for the first quarter of 2002, an all time record had been set for documents recorded. Almost all of these documents affect the Auditor's Office. The Government Center is also realizing budget cuts. Gruber wanted the record to reflect that the extra staff time required for extra work such as this adds up. He had requested an additional staff person during the last budget session but that position was not approved.

Sawatzke moved to request the Auditor's Office and County Coordinator to work with the Buffalo Post Office to come up with a procedure acceptable to Wright County that allows the Post Office to deliver mail to one central location in the Government Center. The Board would be supportive of that if an acceptable solution is found. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

On a motion by Mattson, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Lou Ann Jopp, U of MN Extension Service, introduced Tom Hovde. Hovde will be the new County Extension Director for Wright and Sherburne Counties effective 7-1-02. Hovde has 20 years of experience with Extension.

Laid over from the last meeting, the Board resumed discussion on the proposal by Veit Companies to lease a portion of the Compost Facility to operate a yard waste composting operation. Chuck Davis, Environmental Health Supervisor, referenced a memorandum from Brian Asleson, Attorney's Office, addressing the questions which were to be researched during the last week. The main issues which remain unanswered are the value of leasing the hangar building and the property taxes which would be due as a result of such private use. Asleson's opinion was that if the County were to move forward with any proposal, they would require answers to questions and a use agreement would need to be drafted outlining the Department of Finance requirements. The greater the extent of "private use," the greater the scrutiny on several levels. It was Asleson's opinion that it may be beneficial for the County to step back and logically examine how the Facility can best be utilized for Wright County citizens. In doing so, the Board may find it unnecessary to answer some of these questions. Davis indicated that the approval time with the Department of Finance was estimated to be approximately one week. The biggest obstacle would be the property taxes, estimated at $42,354 (based on the value of the pad and hanger). The consensus of the Board was to listen to the proposal by NRG Processing Solutions before discussing how to proceed.

Kevin Tritz and Kevin Nordby were present for the proposal by NRG Processing Solutions. Tritz explained that NRG Processing Solutions has 14 sites in the metro area including one organic composting facility. He said they are accustomed to addressing issues such as insurance, wear and tear on the facility, permitting, etc. Their proposal would be to operate the Compost Facility for $2000/month for the pad and hanger area, to provide free yard waste drop off for Wright County residents, and to distribute 1000 yards of finished compost to Wright County residents at no charge. In addition, they would pay Wright County $.75/yard royalty on all commercial materials accepted. They would be willing to discuss paying a portion of the property tax. In response to Jude, Tritz confirmed they are a subsidiary of NRG. Jude referenced a newspaper article reflecting NRG's overseas plants reducing debt. Tritz said this would have nothing to do with their company. NRG is part of Excel Energy who is in the process of purchasing back all of the shares of stock that are publicly traded. Excel owns 75% of NRG. NRG is the third largest independent fuel producer in the world. The Enron situation has had a major impact on NRG. Tritz explained that NRG Processing Solutions is involved with processing wood waste for fuel and composting operations which are complimentary to that operation. Tritz said it is unknown the volume of yard waste they would bring to the Facility. Their metro area facilities handle 175,000 yards of yard waste and a portion of that would be directed to the Compost Facility.

Russek stated that Patrick Riley, Microtech Research, has indicated that he will submit another proposal to the County for utilization of the Compost Facility. Russek felt that research would need to be completed on whether it would be feasible for the County to lease the Facility to a private organization due to the property taxes. Jude added that the tax determination would be on whether the service was to the County versus for private use. He suggested the potential of a public/private partnership. Sawatzke thought the County should step back and let the Task Force proceed with the RFP process. Sawatzke referenced the proposals and said that the offer by NRG Processing Solutions was twice that offered by Veit Companies last week. This would place the proposal over the $15,000 threshold requiring the County to proceed through an RFP process.

Scott Vandenheuvel, Veit Companies, addressed two issues. The first is whether the County would be required to proceed through the RFP process. He referenced the Greater MN Solid Waste Management Agreement Act, Subdivision 4, Management Services Contract, which in summary states that the County does have the flexibility to take action and not proceed with bids. The second related to Sawatzke stating NRG Processing Solutions' proposal was double that of Veit Companies. He referenced the two options proposed by Veit Companies. The second option included the same concept with an incentive to the County on a per cubic yard basis. The first option offered $1000/month with Veit's estimated value of $10,000 for the waste acceptance service. Action taken by Veit Companies since last week included working with the OEA, the Department of Finance, and an independent accounting firm who is contacting other counties and governmental agencies. Veit has also made an attempt to obtain a fair market value appraisal. They have not obtained the exact fair market value as there is no longer a valid permit for MSW. Vandenheuvel referenced Veit's proposal and the one from NRG Processing which both came in at approximately $2000/month. With regard to Microtech Research, their first proposal was $1.00/year. Since the sense of what rental is worth has been determined, Vandenheuvel felt it was now a bidding war. He thought that there may be a creative way to explore the taxes and that the issue could be discussed with the Department of Finance. He requested that the Board continue this discussion for another week.

Sawatzke responded to Vandenheuvel's claim that statute gives broad authority for counties to negotiate these types of agreements as opposed to going out for bids. Sawatzke felt if Asleson were here, he would explain that the statute applies when the County hires a firm to run the Facility for the benefit or purpose of the County. In this scenario, Veit suggested 35,000 yards of material with only 2000 originating in Wright County. That would leave 95% from Hennepin County. He said this would serve the purpose of renting the Facility out as a business situation. He disagreed that the statute Vandenheuvel referred to applied to this scenario. Vandenheuvel responded that he did not feel they could speculate on Asleson's opinion but that another opinion on the Waste Management Act could be obtained.

Sawatzke referenced the two proposals, stating that NRG Processing Solutions had offered to accept Wright County yard waste and $.75/yard for grass. When comparing the proposals, he did not feel they were equal in value and that the NRG Processing Solution proposal had a potential value of $50,000-$60,000. However, NRG Processing Solutions did have the opportunity to bid after seeing Veit's bid. In summary, Sawatzke felt the County should undertake a competitive bid process. With regard to NRG Processing Solution's proposal, Vandenheuvel did not feel there was much difference between the two bids. Sawatzke questioned how Veit's proposal to accept Wright County yard waste could be worth $10,000/year but when NRG Processing Solutions included the same service in their bid, it was not worth anything. Vandenheuvel stated that NRG Processing Solutions did not indicate the value of their service. In addition, Veit Companies would be willing to absorb the cost of the property taxes. They had not changed their position on this. He noted that NRG Processing Solutions said they would have to discuss whether they would pay for the property tax.

Jude felt that by continuing this discussion from last week, the process to obtain answers was expedited. He did not know whether an additional week would provide adequate time to obtain further clarification and that the Task Force Committee needed answers before they could proceed. Russek was uncomfortable with the bidding war and felt it unfair to Veit. Sawatzke said that the Board had indicated several weeks ago that NRG Processing Solutions was welcome to submit a proposal. Sawatzke moved to not take action on the proposals by Veit Companies or NRG Processing Solutions. The motion includes directing Davis and the Attorney's Office to expedite the RFP process so the Task Force Committee has something to work with during this next year. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson and Russek indicated that they would vote in support of the motion due to Asleson's recommendation. Vandenheuvel said Veit's proposal would address the short term issue while the County works on the RFP process. He referenced the recommendation of the SWTF to proceed with a short term relationship with Veit while continuing with the RFP process. Either party would have the right to cancel within six months. Russek hoped the Task Force Committee could proceed shortly with the RFP process but did not feel they could give Veit an answer for the short term. Some answers were obtained since last week but not all of them. To make it fair for all companies who may want to bid, he supported the County proceeding through the RFP process. Eichelberg agreed that the RFP process should be expedited as soon as possible and also that there were some unanswered questions. Jude said he would vote against the motion. He was not opposed but his vote would be because of the SWTF recommendation. Russek stated that at the last meeting, he had voted in favor of continuing the issue for one week for answers as he also did not want to vote against the SWTF recommendation. However, the Board has since received two opinions from Asleson that indicated the County should not proceed. Sawatzke added that the SWTF did not have the benefit of hearing the NRG Processing Solutions proposal. They also did not have Asleson's recommendations for review. The motion carried 4-1 with Jude casting the nay vote. The Task Force Committee is to meet within three weeks.

On a motion by Jude, second by Mattson, all voted to authorize attendance by the County Board at the 2002 Safety & Loss Control Workshop on 5-9-02 in St. Cloud.

Jude brought forth discussion and distributed a portion of a decision by Judge Tunheim on a court appeal the County lost in the Superior Landfill case. Jude referenced past comments by Sawatzke accusing Jude of being the cause of the lost appeal. Jude said the decision cites comments made by Mattson, Sawatzke and former Commissioner Rose. Sawatzke thought it was interesting that Jude took a court case that lasted three weeks and provided today a copy of 1.5 pages of information, suggesting that was indicative of what happened. Sawatzke said he heard the closing arguments and felt Jude would not want those distributed. Jude responded that the opposing attorney would say what they wanted. A copy of the 17-page court document will be retained with the Board packet materials.

Bills Approved

Brian Abrahamson 194.82

Advanced Graphic Systems, Inc. 624.89

Aladdin Temp Rite LLC 190.90

Albertville Body Shop, Inc. 565.80

Ancom Communications, Inc. 188.51

Pennie Anderson 125.00

Andys Towing Service, Inc. 993.31

Annandale Advocate 370.15

Anoka County Jwenile Center 157.00

Associated Bag Company 130.77

AT&T 6,145.81

B&D Plumbing & Heating 161.95

Bachman Printing 374.88

George Bakeberg 438.40

Lawrence Bauman 460.18

Jim Borrett 138.04

Buffalo Hospital 7,250.00

Burdas Towing 109.70

Bureau Of Criminal Apprehensn 120.00

Catholic Charities 5,737.02

Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 5,676.39

Central McGowan, Inc. 159.35

Commissioner Of Trans. 1,620.82

Culligan Water Conditioning 215.25

Delano Municipal Utilities 104.01

Daren Demarais 100.00

Department Of Public Safety 8,430.00

Ralph Douglas 468.00

Wayne Fingalson 1,137.35

First State Tire Recycling 838.99

Franz Engineering Repro 727.77

Freestyle Camera 624.99

G&K Services 1,531.12

Gateway Companies, Inc. 1,727.44

GMAC and Hinckley Chevrolet 16,836.40

Greenview, Inc. 272.74

Interstate All Battery Center 254.80

Interstate Automotive 125.00

Arlen Johnson 100.00

Junction Towing & Auto Repair 138.46

Lake Region Coop Oil 1,097.19

Lakeland Transmission 1,646.21

Michael Laurent 172.45

Marco Business Products 1,924.93

Martin-Mcallisters Consulting 600.00

Masys Corporation 2,628.87

Mcleod Treament Programs, Inc. 9,070.07

Midland Corporate Benefits Svc 1,433.25

Midway Iron & Metal Co., Inc. 183.65

Roger Millner 361.20

Minncomm Paging 580.34

Minnesota Cle 195.00

Mn Asphalt Pavement Assn 160.00

Mn Assn Of Cty Probation Ofcrs 440.00

Mn Counties Computer Co-Op 1,638.00

Mn Dept Of Labor & Industry 100.00

Mn Transportation Alliance 751.19

Monticello Times 632.80

Ruth Morgan 125.00

Mti Distributing, Inc. 240.42

National Public Safety Info Bu 109.00

Northstar Repro Products, Inc. 581.44

Office Depot 1,364.99

Lynn Peavey Company 292.45

City Plymouth 700.00

Precision Prints Of Wright Co. 157.63

Qwest 6,857.43

Reliant Energy Minnegasco 1,108.71

Rigid Hitch Incorporated 108.63

Jack Russek 180.62

Sherburne County Sheriff 853.30

Sheriffs Youth Program Of Mn 1,113.75

Snap On Industrial 487.42

Software House Internatonal In 100.11

City South Haven 409.60

St Cloud Stamp & Sign 350.74

Star Tribune 507.20

State Of Minnesota Ltd. 405.90

Sunrise Specialty Contracting 19,215.50

Total Printing 1,703.04

Utility Systems Of America 2,600.40

Chuck Van Heel 327.52

Varner Sheet Metal, Inc. 526.25

C Walker Trucking 748.00

Western Container Company 297.94

Wright County Highway Dept 21,195.42

Wright Hennepin Electric 3,798.70

Xcel Energy 134.36

44 Payments Less Than $100 1,819.21

Final Total $157,601.84

The meeting adjourned at 10:14 a.m.

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