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Wright County Board Minutes

AUGUST 20, 2002

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

Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes of 8-13-02, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #4, "Schedule Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting To Discuss The Capital Improvement Plan" (Gruber); Aud./Treas. Item #5, "Ditch 15 Update" (Gruber); Item For Consid. #2, "Transportation Dialogue, St. Cloud Kelly Inn, 8-26-02" (Russek); Item For Consid. #3, "Minnesota To "Remember The Heroes" On 9-11-02" (Sawatzke); Item For Consid. #4, "Discuss Budget Committee Of The Whole Schedule" (Norman); Item For Consid. #5, "Leadership Summit" (Eichelberg). Mattson moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried unanimously.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: C. Hohl, Atty.; D. Hierlmaier, Ct. Admin.; M. Heaton, M. Laurent, T. Merwin, D. Olson, Sheriff.

2. Refer To Personnel Committee Discussion RE: Office Assistant Position, Assessor Dept.


1. Approve Abatement, PIN #114-108-002210, Meadow Ponds LLC (City of St. Michael).

2. Approve Abatement, PIN #108-034-002040, Edward M. Hunter & 108-034-002050, Backes Companies, Inc. (City of Hanover).

3. Approve Abatement, PIN #103-164-001390, Dale & Cynthia Karels (City of Buffalo).

4. Approve Abatement, PIN #118-500-274300, North Pine Aggregate, Inc. (City of Otsego).

5. Approve Abatement, PIN #202-000-232202, Keith Colline (Buffalo Township).


1. Approve Additional Phone Line & Phone In Public Works Building Mechanical Room.


1. Accept Resignation, Michael Woodford, Assistant Building Inspector, Eff. 8-23-02 & Authorize Replacement. Authorize Overtime If Necessary Until Replacement Is Hired.


1. Refer Discussion Of Modular Furniture In Sheriff's Department To Building Committee.

2. Acknowledge Appointment, Paul Burke, Deputy Sheriff, Eff. 8-16-02 (Grade 3).

John Sander, Springsted Financial Advisors, provided the results of the bid tabulations for the sale of $3,105,000 in General Obligation County Jail Refunding Bonds, Series 2002A, and $6,470,000 in General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Refunding Bonds, Series 2002B. On the $3,105,000 bond sale, there were four bidders with the award going to United Bankers' Bank at a true interest rate of 3.1539%. The Moody rating is A2. On the $6,470,000 bond sale, there were three bidders with the award going to Salomon Smith Barney at a 3.0155% true interest rate. The Moody rating is Aaa. Sander explained that the bond rating upgrade was due to the location, high tax rate growth and solid financials supported by healthy reserves. The savings realized through the $3,105,000 bond refunding will be $50,000/year for a net future value benefit of $341,000 in savings. The savings realized with the $6,470,000 bond refunding will be over $100,000/year with a net future value benefit of $857,000. Sander said this equates to savings of just over $1.2 million over the years of the bond issues. The savings will be realized beginning with taxes payable in 2003. Jude said this reflects on how fiscally responsible and conservative the County has been. Sander, Gruber, Hiivala and Norman were commended for their work with the refunding. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution 02-49 providing for the issuance and sale of $3,105,000 General Obligation Jail Refunding Bonds, Series 2002A and levying a tax for the payment thereof. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Jude moved to adopt Resolution #02-50 providing for the issuance and sale of $6,470,000 General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Refunding Bonds, Series 2002B and levying a tax for the payment thereof. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, requested that a Budget Committee Of The Whole (BCOTW) meeting be scheduled to discuss the capital improvement process and what bonding for equipment would involve. Jude moved to schedule a BCOTW meeting for 9-4-02 at 9:00 A.M., seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Gruber received a letter from property owners requesting review of County Ditch #38 (crosses State Hwy. 12 near the mobile home park in Marysville Township). Gruber said the water level is the same on both sides of the road but it does not appear to be moving. Russek responded that in many areas it appears that there may be something wrong but all of the systems are overwhelmed by the amount of rainfall experienced. He said Mattson feels the water is moving but that there possibly should be more pressure. Bob Nibbe, Mn/DOT, will review the area this week. It was felt that a meeting could be held next week to discuss his concerns. Mattson moved to reschedule this issue to the next County Board Meeting, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

Gruber provided an update on Ditch 15. Previous direction was for Gruber to check into a helicopter flight of the area. Gruber stated that the helicopter has been grounded for three months due to an incident. The owner will be available after that time for $50/hour. Gruber said to rent a helicopter would normally be $200/hour but this pilot does this as a service to the County. Kerry Saxton, SWCD, walked the area from CR #1 to the gravel pit and found three large and one small washouts. He will not be able to shoot elevations until the corn is out. Gruber referenced an area further south of Stockholm Church where a berm was installed. He said the berm seemed to hold other than possibly requiring a load of dirt. He felt the County may want to consider a berm for the area in question. Gruber met with FEMA and found that ditches do qualify for aid. Maintenance records are required. If there has been no regular maintenance in a ditch, it may not qualify.

The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson referenced page 9, Avalon Fortress Security Corp. ($3,780.75). The claim is for guarding a prisoner while at North Memorial Hospital. Mattson also referenced the Extension claims on page 12 and said the claims were in order for payment. The August Extension Committee meeting was cancelled due to the Fair. Mattson and Russek normally review claims at the meetings. On a motion by Mattson, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said 30 of the 96 tobacco retailers failed the compliance check. These percentages are better than the first year of checks. Half of the 30 retailers requested identification from the youth but did not figure the math correctly for age. The clerks and retailers were both fined. Per Ordinance, appeals must be made within 30 days of checks which were completed in the end of June and first part of July. One appeal has been made. Sawatzke moved to schedule a Tobacco Violations Appeal Hearing for 9-17-02 at 11:00 A.M., seconded by Jude, carried 5-0. Mattson questioned the process for liquor violations. Asleson said that the County does not have a liquor ordinance so any violations would be criminal under State law or individual city ordinances would apply. Gary Miller, Sheriff, said warnings are given for the first violation and criminal charges are implemented for the second violation. Mattson said one retailer has suggested that first time warnings should be given for tobacco checks. Russek responded that tobacco compliance checks are different in that the County has adopted an ordinance to follow. Asleson said the penalties are the minimum suggested by State Law for the Tobacco Ordinance. The Board would have the option of waiving a penalty dependent upon the violation. That is the purpose of the hearing.

Bill Lieb, Indian Lake Improvement District (LID), said at the last LID meeting members voted to approve a $35.00 special assessment for property owners in the watershed. Last year, they came close to being funded on a grant from the LCMR (Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources). Part of the assessment would relate to that and also to a cost share with the SWCD to repair a gully. Jude moved to allow the $35.00 special assessment by the LID, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Janis Amatuzio, Wright County Coroner, distributed and provided an overview of the 2001 Report Of The Coroner. There were 235 deaths with the following breakdown: Natural (209); Accident (16); Suicide (6); Homicide (1) and Undetermined (1). With the exception of the year 2000, the number of Wright County deaths investigated increased on an annual basis reflecting the population growth of the County. The decreased trend of accidental deaths may be due to increased safety methods, traffic control methods, road improvements, etc. The number of SIDS related deaths was 0 and Amatuzio attributed this to infants sleeping on their backs. Of the Accidental deaths, 7 were motor vehicle and the average age was 28. The number of alcohol related deaths was 2. The majority of those who died in motor vehicle accidents were male (6) versus female (1). Of the 6 males, 4 were not wearing seat belts. The majority of crashes were when roadways were dry. The most dangerous day to travel in 2001 was Sunday. Of the 9 non-motor vehicle accidental deaths, the ratio of men to women was 7:2 with the average age of 49. Nationally, the male to female suicidal rate is 10:1. In 2001, there were 6 suicides in Wright County, all of them men. There was one homicide where a 16 year old boy was shot by another. There was 1 undetermined death caused by hypothermia. The death was classified as such as they could not determine whether it was an accident or suicide. There were 104 cremation approvals. The number is on the increase nationally as it is a less expensive method and there are fewer burial plots available. Jurisdiction is assumed by the Coroner on all accidental, homicidal and suicidal deaths and on apparent natural deaths of persons who have not seen their primary physician within 90 days of death, who die in the ER and were not known by the ER physician, or who were visiting from out of the area. There were 67 cases in 2001 and 162 cases were declined as there was no evidence of foul play. There were 45 autopsies performed. Amatuzio said the County has a very stable group of deputy coroners and is pleased with their work. She extended appreciation for the work and the cooperation of the Sheriff's department and law enforcement agencies in Wright County.

Ken Jude brought forth discussion on the West Nile virus and vaccine. Present for the discussion were former State Veterinarian Tom Haggerty and Chris Austin-Roehler, Wright County Public Health. Haggerty distributed a copy of a Minnesota map (from the MDH website) identifying the counties that have had positive findings of the virus. To date, confirmed findings included 93 horses (34 counties) and 128 birds (33 counties). He said it was important for people to take precautionary measures such as wearing long pants and insect repellant. He noted that southeastern Minnesota has not had any reported cases and attributed it to no standing water. However, the West Nile virus is being seen in drier parts of the country. A vaccine is available for horses as a preventative measure. It is a killed vaccine and therefore requires two injections. Whenever a foreign protein is introduced into a human or animal, there is the potential for reaction. Although he has heard of a few instances where there was a reaction in animals, he said the chance of that occurring was slim. He said it was important to vaccinate before the disease appears. The vaccine has been available only this year. This will not prevent cases of the virus in birds. Haggerty said vaccination should be done on an annual basis in March or April. More information can be obtained from the MDH website at Haggerty recommended vaccinating as the risk is high in Wright County (13 horses). He felt that two-thirds of the horses that get sick will survive. In the case of humans, the majority of people infected do not show symptoms. Some of the symptoms for humans include headache, fever, stiff neck, muscle aches, nausea. Some of the symptoms for horses include flu like symptoms, unsteadiness, and holding their head down. Haggerty indicated that the vaccine is on a temporary conditional permit, as all of the steps have not been completed for approval of the vaccine. The USDA gave the vaccine a temporary permit because of the need.

Austin-Roehler spoke with Dr. Anderson of the MN Board of Health who indicated that of the 13 horses which have the virus in the County, only 1 had received both doses of the vaccine. Of the other 12 horses, either they had not been vaccinated or received only one dose. Research as to why they became infected is being studied through an ongoing investigation. Of the human cases which have occurred, most have been in the southeastern corner of the United States. The closest case is in Illinois. She said the public will be informed if any human cases occur in Minnesota. At this time, there is no vaccine for humans. If an outbreak occurs, there would then be a recommended vaccine at that time.

Darrell Watkins, Maple Lake Township, asked what the incubation period was after an animal has been bitten. Haggerty responded 4-7 days.

Steve Lutz, Marysville Township, inquired as to whether anything was being done to control the mosquito population. Russek responded that at this point, nothing is being done. Lutz asked whether the mosquito had to first bite a bird and then a horse for the disease to be carried on. Haggerty explained that the mosquito has to have bitten the bird to carry the virus on. Norman said that he understood that the mosquito which holds the virus has a limited geographic area of 100 yards so it was important to eliminate standing water. Haggerty said that may be true for mosquitos but not for birds. Haggerty said the MDH had over 4000 crows and bluejays sent to them. Testing of birds must be done shortly after death.

John Winkelman lost two horses and one is currently at the University. He was upset with what had transpired and the lack of information given to the general public. He asked that the media become involved in Wright County to inform the public. Winkelman's opinion was that the shot was not fool proof and he was not informed of that. If the serum is given to a horse that had the virus, he felt it created a situation where the animal had two agents to fight (the virus and the serum). His horses had only received one shot and became ill. One became ill the next day and one was eight days later. He was also upset with the time it is taking to receive the test results back from the University on his animals. He did not know previously that the vaccine was on a temporary usage permit from the government and if he had known, he probably would not have given it to his horses. Jude said he brought this issue forth to inform the public so they can make their own decisions.

A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 8-14-02. Jude moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:

Process/Procedure For Buildable Lots On Lake Martha. At the 8-06-02 Board Meeting Polly Willhite addressed the Board regarding the requirement to appear before the Board of Adjustment and pay $125 to have a restriction removed which was placed on lots that were deemed unbuildable in 1983 in order to sell one of the three lots she owns in Rockford Township across from Lake Martha. At that meeting it was referred to the Ways & Means Committee for a recommendation from Tom Salkowski. Salkowski explained that in 1983 the Board of Adjustment took action on the Lakeview Manor and Birch's plats combining some lots, declaring some unbuildable, and setting building restrictions. He stated the restrictions were recorded on every lot in those plats and any changes need to be acted upon by the Board of Adjustment and recorded.

With the recent sewer improvement project around the lake there are lots which have now been determined to be buildable and assessed $8700. Salkowski stated there was discussion on how to handle requests to have the prior restrictions removed and it was decided it would be best to deal with them on an individual basis when property owners decided to sell or build. In Willhite's situation she did not want the lots to be declared buildable, but with the sewer improvements they were determined to be buildable and has been assessed $8700 for each buildable lot. Since she is already being assessed for buildable lots, she does not feel she should have to pay $125 to have the restriction removed and recorded before she can sell. She supported payment of the $125 and appearing before the Board of Adjustment if there were any other issues requiring their action. There was considerable discussion on whether removing the restriction could be handled administratively, fairness, as some owners have already paid the $125 to have the restriction removed, whether notices would be required to be mailed out, etc. Sawatzke expressed concern with a blanket removal of the restrictions from the two plats as there may be lots with other issues which should be reviewed. Willhite stated there was no fee charged when the restriction was recorded and didn't feel there should be one to remove it now. It was explained that a Fee for Service policy has been adopted by the County Board and the fee set at $125 for issues requiring Board of Adjustment action. There was discussion on whether a compromise could be reached with the $125 fee waived for those lots in the two plats. Salkowski reiterated that he felt dealing with them on an individual basis through the Board of Adjustment was still the best way and that the $125 fee does not cover staff time and other costs involved in the process. He stated the normal process involves a site visitation by one of his staff with a written report and recommendation based on that visitation provided to the Board of Adjustment prior to their meeting. Jude stated he understands the Willhite's position in regard to the $125 charge, but philosophically supports Salkowski and the process. Jude and Sawatzke agreed that Asleson research the legal aspects of changing the restriction, recording, and notification requirements, and that the Willhite's be notified before action by the Board. Sawatzke stated another issue which needs to be addressed is a guarantee of a future connection for each property which has been assessed the $8700. It was noted that 105 hookups have been used and 50 paid for which leaves 35. Oakley stated the City of St. Michael has indicated between 190 to 235 hookups is negotiable. Asleson stated everybody who has paid and are not hooked up should be on the assessment roll. He will work on a resolution that would address the concern of guaranteed future connections for those who have been assessed $8700. Recommendation: Asleson will research legal aspects regarding removal of the 1983 restrictions with the Willhite's being notified before any action is taken. Asleson will also work on a resolution to address guaranteed future connections for those who have been assessed the $8700 but have not been hooked up.

On a motion by Jude, second by Sawatzke, all voted to authorize attendance at the Transportation Dialogue, St. Cloud Kelly Inn, 8-26-02, 1:00-3:00 P.M.

Minnesota Communities have been asked to participate in the 9/11 Memorial on September 11, 2002 at 7:46 A.M. as part of "Remember the Heroes" showing statewide solidarity with a moment of commemoration. Participants are encouraged to sound sirens, ring bells or show other acts of solidarity at 7:46 A.M. for a 30-second period. Sawatzke moved to sound the County civil defense sirens for a 30-second period, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0. Norman was instructed to inform the Civil Defense Director and Sheriff Miller. The media was asked to inform the public so they would be aware of why the sirens are sounding.

Norman referenced the Budget Committee Of The Whole (BCOTW) schedule passed earlier this summer. On 8-21-02, the Committee is scheduled to hear the Road & Bridge Budget. Norman asked that the meeting of 8-21-02 be cancelled to provide additional time for the Highway Engineer to compile his revised budget. He also requested that the meeting of 8-26-02 be cancelled and that the Committee instead meet with the Highway Engineer on 8-27-02 at 10:30 A.M. Mattson moved to approve the changes as requested, seconded by Eichelberg, carried unanimously.

Eichelberg attended an AMC Leadership Summit in Winona last week relating to the introduction of policy governance. A packet of information from the meeting was provided to Norman and the Board. This was provided as an informational item.

Bills Approved

Advanced Graphic Systems, Inc. 252.25

Allina Health Systems 952.64

Americinn 120.24

Ancom Technical Center 1546.20

Anderson, Mary 139.57

Annandale Advocate 104.20

Appraisal Concepts, Inc. 1650.00

Assn of MN Emergency Managers 200.00

Avalon Fortress Security Corp. 3780.75

Bakeberg, Steven 204.07

Benton County Treasurer 9372.50

Best, Inc. 4485.85

Bound Tree Medical, LLC 640.98

Buffalo Hospital 7250.00

Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Commerci 216.90

Buffalo Township 491.00

Cardiac Science 399.48

Central Lock & Safe 240.50

Central MN Mental Health Cntr 662.50

Clearwater City 745.60

Climate Air 757.91

Contech Construction Product 289.56

Copy Shop, The 583.55

Fernendez, Maribel 523.07

Gateway Companies, Inc. 6020.00

Gateway Safety Products, Inc. 254.06

GCS Service, Inc. 643.58

Granite Electronics 316.50

Graphic & Printing Services 674.00

Hickory Tech 181.32

Horse N Around 211.50

Jude, Kenneth 286.62

Marco Business Products 1057.26

Martinson, Krishona 109.44

Meteorlogix 6923.26

Midland Corporate Benefits Svc. 1498.25

Midwest Environmental Consulti 1510.96

MinnComm Paging 714.93

MN Assoc. of County Probation O 288.00

MN Counties Computer Co-op 1638.00

MN SHRM Conference 398.00

MN State Auditor 6305.71

Moeller, Dennis 367.14

Monticello City 15,000.00

Montrose City 600.40

Motorola, Inc. 2918.96

Office Depot 3946.68

Peavey, Lynn Company 100.60

Peterson, Mary 307.21

Photo I 1334.23

Precision Prints of Wright Co. 541.34

Qwest 7292.87

Ramsey County K-9 Foundation 100.00

Record Preservation, Inc. 360.72

Reese, Genell 104.38

Rockford Township 1804.12

Russek, Jack 155.38

Schliesing, Sherry 259.42

Sherburne County Sheriff 1125.00

Simplex Grinnell LP 276.00

State of MN 510.99

State of MN Intertech Group 701.64

Stewart, Michael 109.12

Total Printing 560.20

U of M MN Extension Service 186.64

Uniforms Unlimited 258.43

United Rentals-HT Branch 229 7799.00

University of Minnesota 410.00

Verizon Wireless 877.93

Weber, Daniel 476.47

Weinberger, James 241.40

Wright-Hennepin Electric 1172.00

41 Payments less than $100 1895.99

Final Total $116,434.97

The meeting adjourned at 10:35 A.M.

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