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Wright County Board Minutes

SEPTEMBER 9, 2003

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

Russek moved to approve the minutes of 9-2-03, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Agenda Item A9, "Authorize Hire, Gaylen Bicking, Custodian, Eff. 9-29-03, Step 3" (Norman); Aud./Treas. Item 4, "Clearwater River Watershed District Appointment, 3-Year Term" (Gruber); Aud./Treas. Item #5, "Schedule Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting RE: 2002 Audit Exit Interview" (Gruber); Item For Consid. #2, "Resolution, Ag Disaster" (Eichelberg); Item For Consid. #3, "Vehicle Maintenance Checks For Contractors In Wright County" (Mattson). Heeter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

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

A. ADMINISTRATION

1. Performance Appraisals: D. Anderson, A. Rasmuson, Assr.; L. Kemper, Ct. Admin.; M. Westover, P&Z; T. Eull, C. Flemming, R. Helgeson, Sher./Corr.

2. Claim, Buetow & Associates, $2,429.32.

3. Claim, Scott Builders, $1,872.00.

4. Claim, MN SHRM Conference, $500.00.

5. Information RE: Cell Phone Policies.

6. Refer Plan Offering From MetLife To The Deferred Compensation Committee.

7. Approve Charitable Gambling Application LG220 & Waive 30-Day Waiting Period, "Ladies Duck Talk" DU Chapter #256, Silver Springs Golf Course (Monticello Twp.).

8. Claim, E.M. Branstrom Assoc. Architects Inc., $2,000 (Heritage Center Addition).

9. Authorize Hire, Gaylen Bicking, Custodian, Eff. 9-29-03, Step 3

B. HIGHWAY

1. Award Contract For Landslide Repair On CSAH 42 To Veit Companies, $740,179.00.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, recommended approval of a Registered Land Survey for William & Grace J. Lord. On a motion by Heeter, second by Mattson, all voted to approve a Registered Land Survey No. 36, as submitted by Edward J. Otto, Registered Land Surveyor, MN Lic. #14343, for clients William & Grace J. Lord, owners of said property described in part as: Beginning at the NW corner of Lot 24; thence Sly 125 to SW corner of Lot 24, also Gov. Lot 2, except the S 15608 Ft., of Sec. 23, Twp. 121N, Rge. 26W, and except part of Gov. Lot 2 platted as part of Morning Side Beach; with all outstanding taxes and fees having been paid; and the Registered Land Survey has been reviewed and signed by Jerome C. Wittstock, Wright County Surveyor.

A draft resolution was discussed relating to a petition by Bruggeman Homes to remove benefitted property from the Ditch #33 drainage area. If the request is approved, 14 acres will be diverted from the Ditch #33 drainage system and 6.8 acres of benefitted property within this development will continue to use the drainage system and will be owned by the City of Monticello. The Board questioned whether it would be advantageous to lay this issue over in light of the fact that they will be meeting with outside counsel on drainage issues in this area. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, spoke with Kurt Deter last week and it appears discussions will involve more of a long term planning approach for the future. Asleson felt this was different than the request being presented today and that this initial request was already approved in concept. He felt there was no advantage to laying this over. With regard to liability, Asleson viewed it as conveying the storm water responsibility to the City of Monticello. Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #03-58, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Gruber said interviews were held for a three-year term on the Clearwater River Watershed District Board for a position previously held by John Tracy. Tracy served nine years and had previously indicated interest in reappointment. When the interviews were held, he asked not to be considered for reappointment due to time constraints. Two other candidates were interviewed including Mark Kampa and Eric (Marty) Ferguson. The consensus of the interview panel (Heeter, Sawatzke, and Gruber) was to recommend Kampa for this position. Both candidates were qualified to serve, but Sawatzke said that they had received public feedback that it would be good to have representation from someone not living on Clearwater Lake. All members of this Board from Wright County live on Clearwater Lake. Sawatzke said this was the deciding factor on their recommendation. Sawatzke moved to appoint Mark Kampa to the Clearwater River Watershed District Board for a three-year term, effective 8-13-03 through 8-13-06. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried unanimously.

Sawatzke moved to schedule a Budget Committee Of The Whole meeting for 9-23-03 at 10:30 A.M., seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson referenced the claims on prisoners and expressed that some of these expenditures should be collected from the prisoners instead of placing the burden on taxpayers. Mattson moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested authorization for signatures on a petition from Gerald Mundell to vacate a portion of Ireland Avenue in Corinna Township (Section 15, Twp. 121, Rge. 27). The request involves a 20' wide blacktop road which the Township plans to re-blacktop (it has already been milled). The County's assessment is $20,000 for the entire area (assessment based upon a traffic count formula). The request is to vacate the portion south of Ingram Avenue. The road provides a small access to Cedar Lake. It would be the plan to remove the road and create green space. Ireland Avenue would then curve into Ingram Avenue. Sawatzke questioned how much would be expended and the cost sharing to bring it to a park-like setting, as the road is obviously much higher than the surroundings. The cost was unclear but Mundell indicated he would work with the County and also do much of the work himself.

Bill Lieb, Corinna Township Chair, said the project was bid to re-blacktop the road. The final bids have not been received on the total project. The Township Board recently was made aware of the petition. At the hearings for the blacktop proposals, residents did state they wanted to continue to use the road for access to the lake. If the road were abandoned, Lieb also felt there may be a question as to whether the property would go to the County or all to Mundell. Apparently this road went through the old Wells Farm which is owned by Mundell. The Township has the right to deny or accept the petition. A public hearing would be required.

Mundell stated that if approved, the road to the apartments would be closed. Another entrance would exist off from Ingram Avenue and potentially be blacktopped. Maintenance would need to be addressed as three properties use it. Mundell said with regard to the access, in the Spring ice pushes the sand up and it is hard to access the lake. He proposed for residents to use the CR #6 access instead.

Heeter felt there were several unknowns including the Township's position, as they were only recently informed of this petition, and that a decision may be premature without their response. Russek said a public hearing would be required by the Township only if they receive the petition. He felt there may be a problem with vacating this portion due to lake access and thought the County possibly may want a Park entrance off of it at some future date. Lieb stated the plan calls for the road to have the first lift done this fall with the final lift next summer. Sawatzke questioned the Township's position. Lieb said that personally, he would rather see the road blacktopped. He felt that the Township would not want to see the road abandoned without input from some of the area residents. Sawatzke felt that since the project was this far along, it may be best to leave things alone. He said it is a Township road and the County Board may feel differently if the Township was in strong support of shifting gears. Heeter moved to not support the petition, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. The assessment notice will be given to the Auditor/Treasurer.

Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, said the Technology Committee met yesterday on local and long distance carriers. The County is looking to move to local digital service for telephone service at a substantial reduction in cost. An RFP was sent out with response by AT&T and Qwest. The recommendation is to proceed with a three-year contract with Qwest for local digital services, which includes a $22,000 upgrade to the phone switch. The cost will be distributed to departments on a usage percent. The cost for phone services will continue to decrease, estimated at 20% or about $10,000 next year. This will equate to about $50,000 annually on the local digital service. With regard to the long distance service, the Public Utility Commission is allowing Qwest (current local carrier) to provide long distance service. That decision should be completely finalized in October. The Committee recommendation, contingent upon final approval of Qwest obtaining long distance capabilities, is to allow the County to proceed with Qwest in servicing long distance. Contracting with Qwest for both local and long distance services will allow the County to pool the T1 lines. Mattson moved to approve the Committee recommendation to authorize the request contingent upon the finalization of Qwest being allowed to be a long distance carrier. The motion includes the three-year contract with Qwest for local digital services including the $22,000 phone switch upgrade. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 5-0.

At 9:50 A.M., the Public Hearing was held on the request for a water control device on County Ditch #16. Fred Bengtson, DNR Area Wildlife Manager (Wright, Stearns, Sherburne), said the DNR proposes to restore a wetland and modify part of Ditch #16 to install a water control structure (Section 6 & 7, Albion Twp.). The DNR has slowly acquired land surrounding the basin. Recently, Pheasants Forever helped to purchase the last remaining parcel. There is also a flowage easement on the northern portion of the basin (near Sharon & Bob Carlson's property). Part of the project is to replace some defective tile on the property. Bengtson said he knew of three major breaks in the tile line. He felt this would resolve some of the flow issues. On page 2 of the information distributed by Bengtson, the green area outlined on the map reflects the flowage easement on private property and the red line is State property boundaries.

Roger Rimpy, Albion Township, has resided on his property all of his life. A large clean out occurred last year when the ground was frozen. He was unsure whether the spoils were spread on the lower end of the bank. The water in the system on the lower level seems to be working after the clean out. Rimpy thought the blockage was west of Locke Avenue (gravel road). The tile line is about 75 years old and has been repaired several times. He felt the problem is with silt backing up the water in the tile and there is very little grade. The water used to back up in their pasture and as it left, it would crack the tile due to the low grade. Now a control has been installed. Rimpy said an article referenced pre-drained condition and he was unsure what that meant. He felt the control would be worthless unless the tile downhill from the gravel was fixed. Approximately one month ago, there was 3' of water on the east side over the tile. There is about 12" of water running in the tile where repair has occurred and about 8" coming out of the 24" pipe by Lake Henry. He said there is still water in the slough. He referenced last year and the problems with flooding on his property, the Carlson property, and water flowing over CR #5 into the field. He said the entire area drains into French Lake on the north end. Rimpy supported repair before a control is installed.

James Peterson owns property to the west of where most of the tile goes through. He said there has been exposed tile on the bottom end of the field for the past 10 years. There have also been problems with tile exposing and then not exposing, he was unsure what would cause this. He supported repair. The tile handled the water last year but it took a long time to drain. He has game & fish easements on his property, as well as marshes draining into his property. If those hadn't been there, he was unsure whether the water could have been handled. He was interested in obtaining more information on how the control will work and the amount of water flow.

John Uecker, Albion Township Board, said the Township just received notice and requested more information on the structure. He questioned how high the water would come in relation to Locke Avenue and how far the water backs up. There is also a control structure on the east side of CR #5.

Sharon Carlson owns property to the north of the proposed structure. Her concern is that they want to have a wildlife nesting area. They do not mind the gate area but have a concern with the ditch being cleaned out to the east or west of the structure. She also felt the problems may be to the west of Locke Avenue with defective tile. She said water reached 6' high last year. Carlson said they want to have a wildlife area there.

Bengtson felt the Township road would be the least likely affected. When water was close to flooding CR #5, it was still 4-5 feet from flooding the Township road. The water elevations are about 4' closer and 5' below the elevation of CR #5 where it flooded last year. He said they were not proposing a lake but a shallow wetland. The water elevation level of 1031 will come close to the shoulder of the road but not up to it. During periods of Spring runoff or in rainfalls like last year there could be a 2' bounce. Bengtson felt the water control structure could handle water through normal conditions. When referencing pre-drain conditions, the elevations they are proposing are less than pre-drain conditions. He said they do recognize that ditch maintenance to the west of the Township road serves their purpose in restoring this basin. In response to a question by Mattson on flooding problems, Bengtson said that the difference between Lake Willima and Lake Henry is about 3'. During periods of high water like last year, there was no way of manipulating Lake Willima to protect Lake Henry. On the average, the absorbency from wetland to wetland decreases the probability of bounce. In an average runoff there is some capacity but when there is a 100-year event, there is no way to guarantee against flooding. Bengtson said the funding time line is the end of June, 2004. He said it becomes increasingly difficult to work on a wetland in the Spring and Summer.

Don Soderlund, past President of the Wright County Federation and Sportsmans Club said they have 2000 members who support the DNR in this request.

Gruber said if Albion Township has not had an opportunity to review the proposal or maps, it may be appropriate for Bengtson to present this to them at their Township meeting. This may settle some of their concerns. Their next meeting is 9-16-03.

Roger Rimpy questioned whether the Board would allow the installation of a control structure without repairing the tile line. He advised them not to do so until the line is repaired. Eichelberg said this was important information for the Township Board to review.

Sawatzke asked Kerry Saxton, SWCD, whether putting this structure in would create the need for repair to be done sooner or hold the pressure off. Saxton responded both. He had the plan for several weeks for review and just received additional information from the Ducks Unlimited Engineer this morning. Problems with flooding may be helped through a larger pool. The problems with the tile could be fixed if the blockage is on the west side. When high water occurs, they will know whether there is blockage downstream. The proposal may improve the flow through the tile as water will be removed faster when high water is experienced. Saxton was generally in favor of the project but wanted further time for review of figures.

Russek moved to close the Public Hearing at 10:15 A.M. The motion includes laying this item over for two weeks to provide the Township and Saxton time for review and recommendation. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0. Sawatzke added that if a property owner wants to hold water on their property it is generally a good thing.

Scott Glup and Dave Lindberg, US Fish & Wildlife Service, brought forth discussion on potential improvements to the FWS Pelican Lake Access by the MN DNR. Glup said the DNR has a public access on the west side of the Lake. Due to the high water levels it has become unusable. This Lake receives a lot of use, especially during waterfowl season. Road and parking problems have occurred in recent years. Just to the north of the site, there are approximately 70 acres of waterfowl reduction area. Several years ago, a lane was opened to the east portion of the Lake to allow people access. This area has become torn up with use and has made it difficult to access the water. The DNR approached the Fish & Wildlife Service with a request to expend $10,000 (DNR funds) to develop the boat access. The area will have to be graded, have a fabric base, and rock and gravel would be brought in for the access trail and parking lot. Barriers will also be installed to keep people within a specified area. They would like to complete the work before the upcoming waterfowl season. This may alleviate some of the road problems, although it would not accommodate the estimated 100 vehicles on site during this time. Steve Meyer, Highway Department, said there would be approximately 300 cu. yds. spread on the parking area. If the water level recedes 2', the landing would be unusable. Meyer encouraged the DNR to ask some of the civic groups to participate, especially in monitoring the use of the landing. Discussion has taken place with local law enforcement. The Fish & Wildlife Service has concern with potential parties and trash associated with the improvement. Eichelberg said it appears that the Sheriff and Highway Department are receptive to assist.

Kevin Bergquist, FSA, said a USDA emergency meeting was held yesterday with regard to the effects of the severe drought on agriculture. A damage assessment report was included in the information distributed to the County Board, reflecting severe losses in corn and soybeans. He said the severity varies from the north to the south end of the County due to soil types. An estimated 812 farmers have been affected. At Bergquist's request, Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #03-59 requesting a County-wide Agricultural Disaster Declaration. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Richard Norman, County Coordinator, presented a draft resolution establishing the draft 2004 Budget and draft 2004 Certified Taxable Levy. The budget can no longer increase after adoption of the resolution today. The draft reflects an increase in levy of 12.4%. Norman explained this does not necessarily mean individual property taxes will increase by that amount. The net tax capacity is up significantly from 2003 to 2004 so there is an estimated tax rate decrease of 15%. Heeter moved to adopt Resolution #03-60, seconded by Mattson carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. The resolution follows:

RESOLUTION 03-60

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby establishes draft 2004 budgets as follows:

GENERAL REVENUE $31,586,352

HUMAN SERVICES 18,192,266

ROAD & BRIDGE 18,709,700

DEBT SERVICE 3,075,103

LAKE PULASKI L.I.D. 49,350

TOTAL BUDGET $ 71,612,771

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby establishes a draft 2004 Certified Taxable Levy of $27,963,182.

Mattson referenced increased truck traffic in the County due to growth and vehicles traveling at high speeds with full loads, some with no awareness of the traveling public. He referenced an accident several years ago where a person was killed. The maintenance on the truck had not been kept up. Yesterday, a truck jack knifed on Montrose Boulevard. He felt the County should be proactive. He suggested that the Sheriff's Office assist with vehicle maintenance compliance checks. State Law requires an annual inspection. Russek said it would be up to the Sheriff's Department to stop vehicles to see if they have their certification. Tom Kelly, Attorney, said in the past enforcement was left up to Mn/DOT and the Highway Patrol. Very little of the enforcement fell upon local law enforcement. He was unsure whether as many inspection pullovers were being completed due to State cuts, etc.

Bills Approved

AAA Striping Service, Inc. 34,410.95

Ability One Corporation 455.36

Abrahamson, Brian 124.56

American Business Forms 5102.14

American Correctional Assn. 404.50

Amerigas 311.17

Ameripride Linen and Apparel 139.58

AMI Imaging Systems, Inc. 1250.00

Ancom Technical Center 1591.59

Anderson Iron Works, Inc. 9750.00

Aramark Correctional Services 4753.17

Ayres, Richard 9421.15

B&B Products, Inc. 450.00

B&D Plumbing & Heating 113.00

Barker Co., Bob 305.74

Bisco Clean Air 482.64

Bound Tree Medical LLC 258.08

Bowman Distribution 362.81

Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Commerci 1328.00

Buffalo City 39,896.93

Buildings Consulting Group, Inc. 2520.23

Catco Parts Service 305.65

Cellular 2000 of St. Cloud 195.36

Center Point Energy 118.44

Central Lock & Safe 202.25

Chesley Freightliner, Inc. 130.32

Climate Air 2724.48

Conoco, Inc. 106.49

Contech Construction Product 3081.00

Corrinna Township 450.00

CPS Technology Solutions 195.00

Crescent Electric Supply Co. 342.63

Dales Auto Service, Inc. 291.50

Design Electric, Inc. 126.40

Determan, Karen 172.08

Diamond Mowers, Inc. 529.48

Eichelberg, Elmer 348.30

Emergency Physicians Proffessio 227.00

Erickson, Josh 124.20

Evident Crime Scene Products 147.00

Facility Systems, Inc. 22,213.45

Farm Rite Equipment 162.71

Fasco 125.81

Flanagan Sales, Inc. 1556.10

Gateway Companies, Inc. 158.69

Gilbertson, Fred, Ph. D. 500.00

Glunz, Raymond 325.00

Granite City Ready Mix Co. 169.71

Gratz, Gary 500.00

Gray Automotive Products Co. 955.00

Hagemeyer 7287.27

Headset.com, Inc. 117.90

Hedlund Plumbing 464.77

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 101.98

Holiday 2370.43

Interstate All Battery Center 413.33

Interstate Companies, Inc. 266.25

Intoximeters, Inc. 958.50

Kandiyohi Cty Sheriffs Departm 561.80

Keeprs, Inc. 614.08

Kramber, Greg 109.08

Lakedale Telephone Company 361.55

Maple Lake Lumber Company 143.57

Marco Business Products 17,181.02

Martin Marietta Aggregates 297.94

Marks Standard Parts 3594.50

Mattson Well Company 1304.00

McDowall Company 373.00

Miracle Recreation Equipment 469.24

Monticello Ford Mercury, Inc. 4098.92

Nextel Communications 1643.36

North American Salt Co. 64,249.26

Office Depot 1405.11

Olympus 115.00

Onyx Waste Services, Inc. 382.11

Powerplan 597.01

Praska, Tom 227.52

Record Preservation, Inc. 420.56

Reed Business Information 862.68

Simplex Grinnell LP 941.46

M Smith Publishers 247.00

Software House International In 173.60

Sprint 158.13

Sweeney Brothers Tractor 248.02

Tennant 146.64

Total Printing 301.82

Verizon Wireless 1266.93

West Group Payment Center 2594.40

Westside Equipment 2583.16

Xcel Energy 114.59

Zack's, Inc. 1911.08

Zee Service Company 555.20

34 payments less than $100 1705.18

Final Total 273,854.60

The meeting adjourned at 10:38 A.M.


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