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Wright County Board Minutes


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

The following was added to the minutes of 8-27-02, page 2, 2nd to last paragraph, after the motion: "A primary feature of the plan is a map which cannot be readily published. Copies of the map can be obtained from the Wright County Office of Planning and Zoning (682-7338). A narrative text accompanies the amended plan which can also be obtained from the Wright County Office of Planning and Zoning. The primary purpose of the plan is to designate future land use districts for Clearwater Township, which will serve as a guide for the application of official controls by Wright County." Mattson moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: J. Palm, Bldg. Maint.; S. Kile, Ct. Svcs.; A. Chaney, G. Howell, P. Palmer, Sheriff.


1. Approve Abatement, PIN #155-010-009060, The City of Monticello (City of Monticello).

2. Approve Abatement, PIN #113-014-000010, The City of Rockford (City of Rockford).

3. Approve Additional Communication Line For Fax Machine.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, requested that the Board appoint two Commissioners to serve on the County Canvassing Board after the Primary Election being held on 9-10-02. Mattson would not be eligible as there is a primary election being held in his district. The remainder of the Board would be eligible. No Commissioners will be eligible to serve on the Canvassing Board for the General Election. Gruber requested that the Board provide names of eligible voters who may want to be appointed in that capacity. Sawatzke moved to appoint Eichelberg and Russek to the County Canvassing Board (Primary Election) which will meet on 9-12-02 at 10:00 A.M. The motion was seconded by Jude and carried 5-0.

Gruber submitted a request from Ronald J. & Karen M. Kortz, former operators of the Monte Club, for a partial refund of the liquor license fee. The total refund would be $2174.20. The facility is under new ownership. Jude moved to approve the refund as long as the administrative fee had been collected, seconded by Sawatzke. Sawatzke suggested that a policy be established for future requests. Gruber did not feel that development of a policy would be necessary for the few instances where this would occur. He will contact other counties to see what they have established. The motion carried 5-0.

Discussion followed on County Ditch 38. Russek was unable to contact Kerry Saxton, SWCD, for his opinion on whether removal of the 8" pipe as suggested by Mn/DOT would classify as an improvement. The consensus was to lay this issue over until Gruber, Mattson, Russek and Saxton have a chance to review the area, which was tentatively set for 9-6-02 at 9:00 A.M.

The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson inquired whether a process had been established to collect medical costs from inmates. The response was that an attempt is made to either collect from the inmate or through their insurance. Previous correspondence from the Sheriff's Department indicated that they will contact other Sheriff Departments to find out their processes. On a motion by Mattson, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. Sawatzke moved to send the issue of pay for stay to the Ways & Means Committee. The motion was seconded by Jude and carried 5-0.

Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, brought forth discussion on possible modification of Cooperative Agreement 02-02 with the City of Otsego involving the waterfront development in Otsego along CSAH 39 and CSAH 42. The Agreement was approved by the City on 7-22-02 and the County on 7-29-02. Fingalson referenced documentation received this morning from the City's Engineer, Ron Wagner. The recommendation from Jim Johnson, the City's Transportation Engineer, is that the ingress-egress to the Otsego Waterfront Development proceed as designed, bid and shown on Exhibit B-1. His opinion was that it provided both short-term and long-term benefits to both the internal and external street systems and intersections in terms of traffic operations and traffic safety with minimal inconvenience to traffic exiting the development. Fingalson concurred with Johnson's recommendation and referenced the previous compromise by the County to allow an egress from the gas station onto Quaday Avenue and onto CSAH 39. After merging, anyone who would want to make a left turn from CSAH 39 to CSAH 42 would have to cross three lanes of traffic. With the close proximity of CSAH 39 to CSAH 42, Fingalson felt the County had already compromised. The project has already been let and construction has started.

Bob Fields, Landcor, referenced meetings held in May with County, City and Mn/DOT representatives about the future for the Hwy. 101 corridor study. Included in those discussions was the area being discussed today. Fields referenced the letter from Wagner and thought that if Quaday Avenue were open the way he thought it was agreed to, it would function well into the future (2014 to 2024). However, Johnson's reports reflect a free right turn onto CSAH 39 from Quaday Avenue and Fields did not feel that was the agreement. He understood in May that if improvements were made to CSAH 39 and CSAH 42 by his company, in exchange a stop sign would be installed on the south end of Quaday Avenue perpendicular to CSAH 39. Later when the joint agreement was drafted, the language returned to Johnson's design blocking that portion of Quaday Avenue. Fields said they were not made aware of the change and they received the plans after they were approved. Steps have been taken to amend the plans and they understand the process to do so is through the County Board. Fields said the cover letter from Wagner indicates that Wagner does not agree with Johnson and also recognizes Johnson as a Junior Engineer. Fields said the vehicle motion in question is the right turn onto CSAH 39 followed by a "U" turn. If a stop sign were installed, that would make that motion functional as it would allow an opportunity to judge distance. He did not support the routing of traffic from Quaday Avenue through the convenience store lot. Fields would agree to place language in the agreement calling for the developer to install signs on southbound Quaday Avenue indicating there is no access to eastbound CSAH 39. Landcor has lost two land sales and others are pending on the outcome of today's meeting. When the developer agreed to upgrade CSAH 39 and 42, Fields said it was with the understanding that there would be a full right in/right out intersection with a stop sign at Quaday Avenue. Improvements for water, sewer, and joint utilities have commenced. The City approved the requested modification at their last meeting on a 5-0 vote. Fields said he did not understand that the access was modified and routed through the convenience store.

Mike Robertson, Otsego City Administrator, and Vern Heidner, Otsego City Council, attended today's meeting. Heidner said the City's primary concern was the businesses and homes in the area and this exit was secondary. He did not feel all of the ramifications to change this to a right in/right out intersection were fully discussed at the time. There is agreement there may be a problem with this intersection at some time but it is uncertain as to when it will become a safety issue. As more traffic comes through the area, the potential for problems with stacking distance increases. Heidner said both Johnson and Wagner agree that this may be an issue at some point in the future. Jude cited the potential problems and felt it should be solved now instead of waiting for accidents to occur. He questioned how much extra time it would take to travel an additional block and make a right turn to get to the same area. Heidner estimated 3-4 minutes. Sawatzke added that the agreement allows for a future median in this area and would change the distance from several blocks to 6-8 blocks. Jude referenced the south end of Quaday and the potential lost sales due to the road situation. Once the developer sells the property, it becomes the County's responsibility to deal with traffic problems.

Fields indicated that he and his partner will own some of the businesses which will be located in this area and will be there long term. He thought an intersection should be constructed that works and that the businesses should be allowed to move in and mature. He said the businesses will be the first to come to the County for traffic relief. Fields said if Quaday is closed off as Johnson suggests, Wagner does not agree with him. Fields referenced Johnson as a Junior Engineer and Wagner as the Senior Engineer. Fields stated that the comments about Johnson being a Junior Engineer came from Wagner. He said Wagner reviews Johnson's recommendations and it is up to Wagner to review the facts and make a recommendation. Jude said he did not care whether Johnson was a Junior or Senior Engineer, that Johnson has the right to speak to his field. It was clarified by Fingalson that Johnson is the Transportation Engineer and Wagner is the City Engineer.

Fields referenced the Maple Grove shopping area (Elm Creek Blvd. and Weaver Lake Road) where there are several right in/right out areas with higher volumes of traffic. Fields lives in this area and said there have been no accidents or issues from this design. There are areas where vehicles use parking lots to turn around because of the design. Fingalson responded that it would not be desirable to design this area like the Maple Grove area. The County had already compromised by allowing an access out. Exhibit B1 was referenced. Fingalson said the comment by Field asking for change to include a stop sign at CSAH 39 and Quaday was already included in Exhibit B1 (instead of a free right turn lane). Fields said what they agreed to in May was to provide a full right turn at the stop sign and not a closure.

Sawatzke participated in the discussions when the agreement was drafted calling for the routing of traffic through the convenience store lot before accessing CSAH 39 . He was unsure why the change was being requested as his impression was that the convenience store wanted the traffic through their property. He suggested allowing the request for a full right turn and allowing traffic to continue on Quaday Avenue instead of routing the traffic through the convenience store lot. The agreement could indicate that the County would reserve the right to close the access from Quaday Avenue onto CSAH 39 if necessary for safety or functionality issues (lane shifts, accidents, traffic disruptions). This would be placed on the abstract of the properties. Fingalson said the current agreement calls for that ability. Fingalson referenced the letter from Wagner to Robertson which states in part, "Added to the proposed amendment was stipulations which require the title of properties south of 91st St. to have acknowledgment of the potential of full closure of southbound Quaday Avenue access to CSAH 39 when the first stipulation is met and that no partial closure or driveway into the proposed 'gas station/convenience store' lot is allowed, only full closure." Fingalson said it was commendable that this was included within the agreement. However he did not agree that there was not a problem already. Fingalson referenced the comment by Wagner in the memo to Robertson which states, "I also see the possibility of more U-turns from CSAH 39 west to CSAH 39 east with full southbound Quaday Avenue access." In response to Field's suggestion of placing signs that indicate that U-turns are not allowed, Fingalson said signs may be ignored. Fingalson concurred with Johnson's statement in his memorandum to Wagner which states, "The major concern is to make sure that CSAH 42 and CSAH 39, both regional corridors, continue to operate safely and smoothly. If they don't, the entire city and this development will suffer." Fingalson strongly recommended that the agreement not be amended. Jude concurred with Fingalson. He was not against the developer but was concerned with safety and keeping the main corridors open. He felt that people could be trained from the start to enter into this area through different routes.

Fields said that Mr. Brown, the developer's traffic engineer, had a problem by which the analysis was made on traffic counts. A growth factor of 3.9% per year was used through 2024 or more than triple what the traffic is today. In addition, Johnson also factored in the increased traffic from the development and did not account for pass by, diverted or linked trips. He felt this created a huge discrepancy. In response to Jude's concern with fixing the problem now, he thought in some cases it may make sense to do that. However, when the County builds roads decisions are based upon economics and current use of the property. If the developer is told that they cannot have the contract amended, the corner properties in this development will not be able to be developed. Jude responded that it could be a design problem and suggested that the area could be laid out differently to match traffic. Jude was concerned with the safety of the public and did not want to be left with the problem of having to close off this access. Mattson said that he would consider the request if Landcor and the City could develop something agreeable to both including the allowance for the County to close the access.

Field said his modification request would be to remove the two curbs and pave between them. He asked that they be able to continue the balance of the improvements which were agreed upon on CSAH 39 and CSAH 42. They would be responsible for the financial aspect of the curbing and paving. Further discussion occurred on the design calling for traffic to flow through the convenience store lot. Sawatzke said he did not feel this was much of a deterrence and had envisioned more of an inconvenience discouraging traffic from flowing that way. Fields did not feel diverting the traffic into the lot was a good design and asked that Quaday Avenue be left open until Fingalson determines that it should be closed. Fingalson referenced the relatively loose criteria and questioned whether he could close the area if an accident occurred. Fields did not view it was loose but didn't feel one accident met the criteria. Enforcement should be used if needed. The provision that this road may be closed will be included and recorded against each lot.

After further discussion, Mattson moved to approve the modified agreement with the City of Otsego provided that the agreement permits the County the opportunity to close this access at any time. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. The motion and second were amended to include that a modified agreement between the City and the County will be drafted and forwarded to both entities for signature. The City will review the modified agreement and if the City is not comfortable with the amended language, the current language would remain intact. The motion was also amended to include that the modification would include access from Quaday Avenue to CSAH 39, that there would be a stop sign installed, that the County would reserve the full right to close the access at any time in the future if problems are identified, and that the developer would pay for any costs for changes in the future. Jude said he would vote against the motion. He was not against economic development but a problem has been identified by the Highway Engineer. He felt the problem should be faced now. Russek said it would be much easier to train people to use the alternate way into the development instead of allowing them access now and removing it. Later, Russek said he would vote against the motion. Fingalson said he would not speak in favor of the motion. If the motion is approved, it would be against what both he and the City Transportation Engineer were recommending. He referenced previous meetings with the City Council on this issue and expressed disappointment on revising what had been decided upon. He did not feel it was in the County's best interest to approve the modified agreement. Fingalson felt that criteria needed to be established on who pays for closure. Fields said that if the amendment were approved and a change or closure is needed in the future, the City and the businesses would be responsible for the expense. There would be no County expense. Fields said these are all going to be viable businesses that could be specially assessed if so determined. Fields said the title work for the businesses will indicate that this road could be closed and the expense associated with it would be theirs. Sawatzke said the layout of diverting traffic over to the parking lot does not make sense and that there should not have been access to CSAH 39 at all. Fingalson responded that the jog was a compromise that was reached. The motion carried 3-2 with Russek and Jude casting the nay votes.

A Building Committee meeting was held on 8-28-02. Jude moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0:

Generator Transfer Switch. When the generator was replaced in 1997 at an approximate cost of $38,000 the decision was made to delay replacement of the transfer switch. The transfer switch is now 30 years old and is experiencing trouble. Hayes reviewed bids from Ziegler and Cummins NPower. Ziegler's bid was $11,997 for the transfer switch, $1,250 for a dual rate float style battery charger and $2,750 for installation of a rental generator. Cummins POWER's bid was $12,049 for the transfer switch. A quote of $5,100 has been received from Loberg Electric, Inc. to install the transfer switch. They propose to replace the transfer switch on a Saturday and Sunday with an approximate hour down time on emergency power at the beginning and end of the replacement. The existing generator will be manually hooked up for Dispatch in the event of a City power failure during the replacement period. There was discussion on time and material cost for installation of the switch versus an hourly rate. Ziegler's indicated the current battery charger has a tendency to drain batteries due to constant trickle charging and recommended replacement with a float style charger that charges only when needed. Buskey stated the current battery charger is also 30 years old. It was noted there is a 4-5 week delivery time for the transfer switch. Jude and Eichelberg recommended accepting Ziegler's bid of $11,997 and to also replace the battery charger at a cost of $1,250. Recommendation: Accept Ziegler's bid of $11,997 for the generator transfer switch and replace the battery charger at a cost of $1,250. Accept Loberg's quote to install the transfer switch at a cost of $5,100. Funding to come from Site Improvement.

Modular Furniture, Sheriff Department. Chief Deputy Lindell stated a work space needs to be created for the newly hired Victim Witness Coordinator. They are proposing to move two transcriptionists into temporary individual offices in the old Attorney's Office space. When remodeling of this area is done the transcriptionists would be relocated to cubicles in the outer office area. Half of the office space the transcriptionists currently occupy is also used by patrol sergeants, and the intent is to install a partition in the office. Lindell stated Lieutenant Anselment's office is the only one that doesn't have modular furniture and their request also includes upgrading his office. There was discussion on whether there were pieces of modular furniture in the basement that could be used, and if funds are available in the Sheriff's Department. Hayes stated that before modular furniture is ordered there is always a review of the basement inventory to see if there are pieces that can be used. Hayes estimated a cost of $5,500 - $6,000 for modular furniture for the Victim Witness Coordinator, the two transcriptionists, and Sgt. Anselment's office. Recommendation: Hayes work with Facility Systems on modular furniture as proposed for the above offices with funding from Site Improvement.

Moisture Problems. Norman distributed copies of testing from Midwest Environmental Consulting, L.L.C. and explained the analysis was done in response to some employee concerns. Hayes provided background information and reviewed portions of their findings. It was noted that a vault area was being used as office space along with copying equipment and also as a kitchenette. There was discussion on the policy prohibiting coffee pots in office areas and the safety hazard they impose. Buskey stated there have been numerous occasions when coffee pots have been left on throughout the buildings and have been turned off by his custodians. It was the consensus of the Committee that the policy needs to be enforced and that Buskey identify locations of coffee pots throughout the buildings. Hayes stated Climate Air has been contacted to correct air flow problems that were identified. Buskey stated that the building was recently re-caulked at a cost of $106,000 and has not noticed any signs of leaking around windows with the heavy rains this summer. It is felt that some of the exterior moisture problems are due to vinyl wall coverings on exterior walls which trap moisture. It was suggested the architect be notified to eliminate vinyl wall coverings from future remodeling projects on outside walls. Hayes stated he has sent a copy of the report to Buildings Consulting Group, Inc. for their review and recommendations. They can do a thermo imaging of the exterior of the building which can indicate any moisture problems which may be present. It was the consensus of the Committee to recommend exterior imaging be done in order to identify any potential problem areas. It was noted that moisture problems need to be identified as soon as possible in order to be addressed in upcoming remodeling projects. Hayes stated he would also like areas on the first and third floors to be analyzed, and to do additional research on exhausting copier equipment. It was mentioned that Buskey has a humidity meter and will also be getting a carbon monoxide meter to check air quality. One of the areas tested was around a leaking sink in the Recorder's Office which was caused by developer eating away the drainage pipe. The sink has been repaired and Hayes stated he would like to hire a local contractor to replace sheetrock in this area. Recommendation: Hire a local contractor to replace the sheetrock in the Recorder's Office around the sink area. Have thermo imaging done on the exterior of the building and communicate to the architect any areas that need to be addressed in remodeling projects. Hayes to obtain additional information from Buildings Consulting Group as to their recommendations. Jude requested Buskey report to the Building Committee locations of coffee pots and any incidences where they are left on.

A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 8-28-02. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0:

Office Assistant Position, Assessor Department. A full-time Office Assistant position was approved with a starting date of October 1, 2002. It was contingent on the Department collecting at least $5,500 from charges for services during the year. The income that is a contingency for hiring will fall short of projections. However, with one employee on medical leave and other staff having to devote time doing disaster reassessments, the need exists to proceed with filling the position. Recommendation: Proceed with hiring an Office Assistant October 1, 2002.

On a motion by Jude, second by Eichelberg, all voted to cancel the October 22, 2002 County Board Meeting due to the occurrence of five Tuesdays in October.

Jude moved to authorize attendance at the MN House of Representatives Flood Relief Task Force Hearing on 9-5-02 at 7:00 P.M., Howard Lake Community Center. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

Bills Approved

Albertville Body Shop, Inc. 2960.40

Allina Medical 138.00

Ancom Technical Center 596.90

Annandale Rock Products 214.70

B&D Plumbing & Heating 573.80

Bachman Printing 312.05

Backes, Joe 420.24

Best, Inc. 4395.31

Boger's Hardware 110.57

Carver County Treasurer 1440.00

Catholic Charities 9026.01

Central Lock & Safe 224.64

Central MN Mental Health Cntr 587.50

Cummins Npower, LLC 732.30

East Central Regional Juvenile 6042.00

Eichelberg, Elmer 424.86

Ernst General Construction, Inc. 2057.00

Gateway Companies, Inc. 5487.49

General Pallet, Inc. 212.50

Gholson, Janet 228.48

Granite Pest Control Services 104.37

Harkley, Karen 102.88

Hovertechnics 664.60

Interstate All Battery Center 106.50

Jopp, Lou 115.16

Maple Lake City 2659.82

Marco Business Products 1978.16

Marysville Township 1486.60

Metro Group, The, Inc. 2015.51

Minnesota State Bar Ass'n 310.00

MN Assn of Assessing Officers 910.00

MN County Attorney's Ass'n 167.74

Moody's Investors Services 5000.00

Office Depot 1572.19

Olsen Chain & Cable Co., Inc. 155.23

Public Safety Equipment Co. 1144.93

Record Preservation, Inc. 180.50

RS Eden 1574.80

Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge 113.96

Sawatzke, Pat 225.76

Scenic Signs 174.87

Shald, Brenda & Associates 1068.04

Springsted, Inc. 41,520.10

Star Tribune 956.00

Total Printing 171.47

Unlimited Electric, Inc. 997.03

Verizon Wireless 519.28

Wal-Mart Store 01-1577 1026.15

Washington Cty Sheriff 240.00

Weber, Bridget 325.00

West Group Payment Center 449.74

Woodland Township 1123.60

Wright County Highway Dept. 618.80

Wright Cty Court Administrator 162.19

26 Payments less than $100 1106.18

Final Total $107,231.91

The meeting adjourned at 10:43 A.M.

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