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Wright County Board Minutes

NOVEMBER 4, 2003

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

The minutes of 10-28-03 were corrected as follows: Page 5, 2nd paragraph, add the following after sentence 1, "The motion was seconded by Sawatzke" (Russek); Page 5, 2nd to last paragraph, change from "Eastland" to "Eastlund" (Mattson). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #2, "Ditch 33 Update" (Asleson); Aud./Treas. Item #3, "Accept September Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines" (Hiivala); Item For Consid. #3, "Schedule Committee Of The Whole Meeting RE: Metro Counties Task Force" (Norman). The Board discussed potentially cancelling the field trip to the Carlen and Lindberg properties as someone was unable to attend due to illness. Mattson stated that the Township Supervisor had rescheduled his day for this meeting. It was the consensus that the field trip will be held as scheduled. Sawatzke moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Russek, second by Heeter, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:


1. Performance Appraisals: B. Schlimme, Atty.; D. Demarais, Hwy.; K. Gunnerson, Ct. Admin.; P. Terveer, Aud./Treas.; G. Reitan, Sheriff; A. Backes, Surveyor.

2. O/T Report, Period Ending 10-24-03.

3. Refer To Building Committee The Addition of Audio Visual Equipment To C118.


1. Claim, Utility Systems of America, $58,257.78, Application 14 Final (Fund 61-Sewer).


1. Authorize Lateral Transfer Of Don Bickmann To Highway Maintenance, Eff. 11-5-03 & Authorize Filling His Sign Person Position In The Engineering Division.


1. Refer To Building Committee Voice/Data Wiring Proposal, 2nd Floor Annex.

Mattson referenced the Ditch 33 discussion at the last meeting. At that meeting, the Board took action to approve a quote from Fyle's Excavating for repair work. Mattson said another quote was received in time from Schmitz & Sons but was not presented at the meeting. This would not have changed the outcome of Board action, however, as the quote came in much higher. This was provided as an informational item. Bob Hiivala, Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer, clarified that the quote had been received prior to the Board meeting but was not discovered until after the Board had taken action.

Brian Asleson met with Kerry Saxton, SWCD, on Ditch 33 after the last Board meeting. Relative to the letter which was received from Monticello Township relating to other problems on Ditch 33, Saxton inquired whether Fyle's Excavating could also investigate problems in the area of Monticello Town Estates. Sawatzke agreed with investigation of the problems but suggested obtaining quotes from Schmitz & Sons also. Sawatzke will contact STS to determine whether they can perform the brushing work that was quoted and discussed last week. If STS cannot perform the brushing work, the alternate quote will be brought back before the Board for review. Russek moved to authorize Saxton and Hiivala to have either Schmitz & Sons or Fyle's Excavating do the investigation in the area referenced in the letter from Monticello Township last week. The motion also includes authorizing Sawatzke to contact STS to clean out that portion of the Ditch that was quoted as a separate bid last week. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.

On a motion by Russek, second by Heeter, all moved to acknowledge receipt of the September Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines.

The claims listing was reviewed. Hiivala referred to a claim on the Consent Agenda to Utility Systems of America. This is the final payment for the Lake Martha Project. He referenced a claim in the listing to MCCC ($4,361.89) for the GASB 34 update. Past practice has been to split this claim with Human Services and Road & Bridge. This claim will be paid entirely from the Auditor/Treasurer fund. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Tom Hovde, U of M Extension Service, presented for approval a Memorandum of Agreement between Wright County and the U of M, an Addendum to the Memorandum of Agreement, and a Memorandum of Intent for the Extension program in Wright County for 2004. The County Extension Committee unanimously voted to have the Chair sign them and recommend them to the Board for approval. Mattson moved to approve the documents, seconded by Russek. Russek stated that during a meeting held last Friday with Mattson, Hovde and Lee Raeth, he questioned whether Wright County would contract with the University for people or whether the County will select the person. Eichelberg understood this to be true as long as the candidate meets minimum requirements. Hovde stated that once the positions are approved, the Extension Committee will work to finalize the job descriptions for the positions and the positions will be posted. Applicants will go through an interview process with either the local Extension Committee or a Committee they appoint. A recommendation is then made to the University. Hiring for these positions, if the qualities in the job description are met, will be done locally by the Extension Committee or their designee. Mattson said discussion also involved the use of unused office space by other departments. The Agreements have been reviewed by the Attorney's Office.

Sawatzke referenced the Addendum to the Memorandum of Agreement relating to Mary Ann Peterson's position. He questioned the reimbursement formula outlined in paragraphs 3 and 4 as it appeared that the University would be reimbursing the County 1.5 times for a full-time position. Hovde explained that the proposal would provide for reimbursement by the University to the County for one-half of Peterson's salary and benefits in addition to the 40% rebate that has been in effect for 1.5 years. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said he wondered why the County would have to contract for one of its own employees. Hovde said Peterson is a half-time 4-H Coordinator. There are currently two 4-H Program Coordinators in Minnesota. Because Peterson is a long-term employee of Wright County and to protect her fringe benefits and retirement accrual, she will remain a Wright County employee. Programmatically, she will be provided supervision by the 4-H Regional Educator. Within this, all expenses, training, meals and mileage will be covered in the Agreement. Hovde's understanding is that the monthly bill payable to the University by Wright County will be reduced by half of Peterson's salary in addition to the 40% reduction which has been in effect for 1.5 years. After further discussion of how the Addendum language should read, Russek and Mattson agreed to amend the motion to include directing staff (Norman, Hiivala and Asleson) and Hovde to work out the language on this Addendum. Signatures are authorized pending final agreement of the wording. The 40% reimbursement language should be included as well. The motion carried 5-0.

Hovde requested approval of the Memorandum of Intent between Wright County and the U of M for the Nutrition Education Program. This is a Federally Funded Program requiring a match. The effective dates of the Memorandum of Intent are 10-1-03 to 9-30-04. Russek moved to approve the Memorandum of Intent, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, all voted to amend the Food Service Contract to extend the Agreement for one year (12-1-03 to 11-30-04). There will be no increase in cost per meal. The contract language remains the same with the notation of the sale of Fine Host to ARAMARK.

On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to schedule a Public Hearing for 11-25-03 at 9:30 A.M. for the purpose of setting a Solid Waste Service Charge for 2004.

A Traffic Control Signal Agreement with Mn/DOT & the City of Buffalo was discussed. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, said the City Council did not approve the Agreement last night at their meeting and so the item should be removed from today's Board Agenda. The City had concerns with the amount of maintenance they would be required to fund. This will be deferred to a future meeting.

A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 10-27-03. A summary of the minutes and action at today's Board meeting follows:

1. Discuss Traffic Signal Warrant Analysis for CSAH 35/Bison Boulevard. A traffic study was completed at the intersection of CSAH 35 & Bison Boulevard as a followup to the last joint meeting with the School Board, City Council, Township, County Board and staff representatives. A summary of the 12-year turning movement counts was distributed. Warrants were not met for a signal. Even though warrants were only met for one of the required eight hours, Mn/DOT was asked to review the data. Tom Dumont, Assistant District Traffic Engineer, provided an explanation of the Minnesota Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The State did look at the benefit cost ratio due to the large number of crashes at this intersection. This produced a very high 4.83 benefit cost ratio which means that even though volume warrants are not met, there are other indicators that a traffic signal could help improve safety. The low volume of traffic on Dague Avenue and Bison Boulevard is why warrants are not met. It is likely that traffic would increase on those roads if a signal was installed. Dumont indicated that there appeared to be a crash problem that traffic signals could help diminish. Anoka and Hennepin Counties allow traffic signals to be installed if warrants are not met but they do not provide any county cost participation. Mattson expressed confidence in 4-way stop signs and commented how effective they have been at the intersection of CSAH 35 and CR 134, just one mile west of the subject intersection. Fingalson advocates 4-way stops in places where they are warranted but feels this is not one of those places. He thought 4-way stops work best at intersections where traffic is balanced. A consultant will have to be hired to design the installation of the lights, so it is anticipated that they would be installed next Spring at the earliest. State Aid funding will not be available as warrants are not met. Funding would be split 75% City/School and 25% County (estimated at $45,000 for County). Discussion also involved the school not charging students for parking. Principal Miller and Supt. Nelson said students need their vehicles for work. The school has tried to promote safe driving. Fingalson said the placement of the signals does not necessarily eliminate safety problems. Typically, the installation of a signal will increase crashes but Dumont felt this might not be the case in this situation. The morning sun may also cause problems with being able to see the arrow. There are things that would improve safety and other issues which would not. The signal will provide for protective, permissive left turns (allowing left turns on an arrow and then a green ball). This is to prevent stacking on CSAH 35. Committee Recommendation: It was the consensus of this Committee that traffic signals be installed at the intersection of CSAH 35 and Bison Boulevard and that the County will finance 25% of the cost, if funds are available. Fingalson will contact the appropriate Mn/DOT Engineer to find out whether State-Aid funds can be made available for help in financing this project.

At today's Board meeting, Fingalson said there will not be a left arrow for traffic turning left onto CSAH 35 from Bison Boulevard. Traffic counts do not support this. Mattson referenced a recent article in the Journal Press covering a Montrose City Council report by Brad DeWolf. DeWolf's report indicated that the consensus of the four Commissioners was in support of the signal at this intersection. The report did not indicate that Mattson was against the stoplight and why. Mattson cited the 7-8 four-way stops which have been installed in the County and how they have ceased accidents and fatalities. He said Mn/DOT left a portion of a 4-way stop south of Montrose. Mattson referenced numerous articles and statistics from research on the Internet reflecting crashes and fatalities due to vehicles running red lights. From his transportation background and the overall safety, he did not feel the signals will solve the problem on CSAH 35 especially with the less experienced youth drivers.

Fingalson responded that the reason this decision is so difficult is that there are no guarantees the signal is the answer. Without lights, there have been crashes and a fatality. Fingalson spoke with Dumont, Dumont's supervisor, and the State Traffic Engineer and staff for input on this intersection. As the County Engineer, Fingalson was providing the best information he had in terms of the resources available. When looking at the intersection, safety as well as efficiency must be considered. The placement of the 4-way stop would stop 3000 vehicles/day, when during all but one hour there is not another vehicle coming.

Mattson said it has been proven throughout the County that 4-way stops have eliminated crashes and fatalities. He referenced the 4-way stop at CSAH 35 & CR 134 only one minute away from this intersection. He felt traffic should be slowed down throughout the County. Fingalson said the County has placed twenty 4-way stops. They serve a purpose but efficiency and balance must be considered. Fingalson said this is a case where the 4-way is not warranted.

Mattson made a motion to install 4-way stops. The motion failed for lack of a second.

Sawatzke agreed with Mattson from a safety standpoint. He said statements have been made about the issue involving politics. He said discussion on this intersection has been going on for a long time, and the County has completed safety improvements to this intersection (including research and studies). Information previously suggested a 4-way stop but recent information indicates a signal may be safer. For a long time, Sawatzke said he was opposed to a signal as he felt it would make the intersection more dangerous. Sawatzke agreed with Fingalson on efficiency. He felt a 4-way stop may be safer but not practical. Sawatzke said he would vote for the signal today in hopes that this will be the correct decision over time.

Russek was in agreement that the 4-way stop would be safer but there is not enough traffic on Dague Avenue to warrant it. Until the most recent information from the State, Russek did not favor a signal. However, he felt now that it was a common sense approach to correcting the situation for years.

Mattson said that due to the direction the traffic is routed after school, the balance at this intersection is not met. Currently, traffic is routed on the west side of the school for traffic traveling west. He felt the balance would be there if traffic were routed to the east onto Bison Boulevard.

Heeter moved to partner with the City and School District to install stop lights at the intersection of CSAH 35 and Bison Boulevard and to participate in a County cost of 25%, seconded by Russek. Eichelberg said he would vote in support of the motion. He would have preferred waiting for one year to provide an opportunity to see how the last improvement worked (flashing lights with 45 mph school speed limit on CSAH 35). He felt with enforcement and education, that improvement may have worked. However, with the recommendation from Mn/DOT and the Highway Engineer, he would vote in support of the motion. Mattson said he would vote against the motion as he supported a 4-way stop. He was not against control in that area. He said one article suggested placing a camera at the signal for enforcement but that would cost $50,000 plus maintenance. With a 4-way stop, none of that would have to be done. Heeter said there is controversy on doing the right thing and that the entire Board is concerned with saving lives. Sawatzke said when the Buffalo School District looks at their next school, they should choose a site with the correct infrastructure. He did not feel it should be up to the County taxpayers to fill the gaps in funding for costs beyond construction. Every other business and entity must evaluate that. The motion carried 4-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.

With the approval of the stop lights, Fingalson said an agreement would be approved by all three bodies for construction costs and maintenance. He anticipated that the City would be funding ongoing maintenance as that is what is typically done. Norman suggested that fund balances be reviewed at year end to determine where the County's portion will be funded from. Sawatzke moved to cap the County's portion of funding for the stop light at $45,000. Russek said at the Transportation Committee meeting, the County agreed to 25%. Sawatzke explained he put forth this motion because of two reasons. The first is that the County has already funded a number of improvements that would have been cost shared with the City and School District. The second involves a request by the Monticello School District and the Monticello Hospital for a signal. The County was asked to install a signal but the intersection did not meet warrants. As the School and Hospital were concerned with safety and did not want to turn it into a political issue, they funded the installation themselves. He felt communities and schools should be treated alike. In light of that and the fact that the County already made improvements to the intersection, Sawatzke felt the County should cap their funding expenditures. The motion failed for the lack of a second.

2. Discuss Turnback Agreement of CR 117 to City of Monticello. Committee Recommendation: It was the consensus of the Committee that the County turnback CR 117 to the City of Monticello at the rate of $85,000/mile plus payment for two years of maintenance. A new maintenance agreement will be drawn up to reflect appropriate dates and will become effective upon signatures by both parties. The transfer of money will take place afer the agreement has been signed. Fingalson and Simola will work together to reach an agreement on dates to be addressed in the maintenance agreement. At today's Board meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the Committee recommendation, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

3. Discuss Vehicle Storage Building Options. Committee Recommendation: It was the consensus of the Committee that additional space be provided in the proposed storage facility planned for construction in the Spring of 2004 to accommodate the year-round storage of the Human Services' WOW van. The cost of this additional space will be calculated when a bid is accepted and construction is completed. At today's meeting, it was explained that the Human Services Director will obtain 50% federal funding and will fund the remainder from the Human Services budget. At today's Board meeting, Russek moved to approve the Committee recommendation, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

4. Discuss Official Mapping Ordinance. An official ordinance needs to be adopted by Wright County before an official mapping process can be put to use. An official map will be useful in identifying areas that may be targeted for future highway expansion/improvement and for park land acquisition. At today's Board meeting, Fingalson said that a meeting has been set for 11-13-03 at 3:00 P.M., County Board Room. Representatives will be present from Mn/DOT, and each City and Township along the Highway 55 Corridor. This was presented as an informational item.

Fingalson recommended the following corrections to the Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes: page 2, 3rd sentence will read, "Dumont conducted a benefit cost analysis of this intersection and found that it has a very high benefit cost ratio of 4.83; which means that even though volume warrants are not met, there are other indicators that a traffic signal could help improve safety here."; Add 10th sentence, "Fingalson said that both Anoka and Hennepin Counties allow traffic signals to be installed if warrants are not met, but do not provide any county cost participation."; Page 5, middle paragraph, 7th sentence will read, "Mleziva explained that storage of the van at its current site costs $1,000, which covers storage in the off-season of four months." Sawatzke moved to approve the 10-27-03 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Norman stated that the regular Committee Meeting dates for December are the 10th and the 24th. The Commissioners will be attending the AMC Conference on December 10th and December 24th is Christmas Eve. Russek moved to reschedule the December Committee Meetings for December 17th, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #03-69 authorizing Sgt. Todd Hoffman to execute the Federal Bryne Grant for the Drug Task Force. The County will enter into a cooperative agreement with the Office of Justice Programs in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 11-10-03 at 10:30 A.M. for the purpose of receiving information on the Metro Council Task Force Membership.

Bills Approved

AAA Striping Service, Inc. 22,009.82

Ability One Corporation 412.89

Advantage Water Conditioning 201.50

Ameripride Linen and Apparel 139.98

Ancom Communications, Inc. 1150.00

Ancom Technical Center 1258.19

Andersen, Earl, Inc. 5191.15

Anderson, Mary 322.54

Anoka County Juvenile Center 1921.00

Arrow Terminal LLC 296.43

Auto Glass Center, Inc. 275.53

B&D Plumbing & Heating 109.00

Barthel, John 350.00

Beaudry Oil Co. 609.50

Beckius Truck Repair, Inc. 257.16

BLM Technologies, Inc. 342.59

Buffalo Collision Repair, Inc. 322.57

Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Commerc 437.40

Buffalo City 2616.80

Buildings Consulting Group, Inc. 2567.76

Careertrack 149.00

Catco Parts Service 4001.39

Centra Sota Lake Region, LLC 10,531.50

Chatham Township 872.50

Clearwater Township 1217.20

CPS Technology Solutions 195.00

Crescent Electric Supply Co. 2151.81

Dental Care Associates of Buff 291.00

East Central Region LLC 25,591.00

ECO Systems Emgineering 960.00

Eichelberg, Elmer 310.32

Elk River Bituminous, Inc. 2548.03

Farm & Home Publishers 211.87

First State Tire Recycling 648.87

Franklin Township 86,619.40

Freestyle Photographic Supplie 520.99

Gale-Tec Engineering, Inc. 8126.70

Gall's, Inc. 282.82

GCS Service, Inc. 508.90

Geyer Signal 592.46

Going Under Dive Center 717.02

Graphic & Printing Services 1083.00

Hanson, Chris 135.36

Jopp, Lou 262.30

Kandiyohi Cty Sheriffs Departm 716.10

Keeprs, Inc. 781.08

Klatt True Value Electric 119.97

Koch Materials Co. 3945.35

LaPlant Demo, Inc. 946.38

Libertel Associates 212.21

Loffler Business Systems, Inc. 2024.57

Lundeen Interiors 1240.47

M-R Sign Company, Inc. 401.40

Maple Lake City 1084.20

Marco Business Products 13,953.56

Martin, Donita 172.80

Martinson, Krishona 161.66

Mathiowetz Construction 341,498.35

Mid-America Business Systems 1904.78

Miller, Nathan 381.48

Minnesota Copy Systems 408.62

MN Counties Computer Co-op 4361.89

Moeller, Dennis 536.62

Monticello Ford Mercury, Inc. 2572.45

Monticello Township 2470.90

Montrose City 553.00

MPG 4132.00

Munson, Margaret 189.72

National Fluid Power Institute 985.00

Nextell Communications 2532.12

Office Depot 2138.43

On Site Monitoring 9623.00

Parts Associates, Inc. 129.22

Performance Office Papers 655.61

Peterson, Mary 181.96

Peterson, Ralph 405.60

R&L Dirtworks 675.00

Rockford Township 2929.60

Royal Tire, Inc. 1305.24

Schliesing, Sherry 640.98

Sheriffs Youth Program of MN 763.14

Snap-On Industrial 248.42

Software House Internatonal, Inc 477.13

South Haven City 388.00

Specialty Seeds, Inc. 238.56

Sprint 156.88

Stepp Mfg. Company, Inc. 381.44

Stieg, Theresa 816.75

Streichers 540.33

Swing, William 107.28

Sweeney Brothers Tractor 521.00

Total Printing 682.14

Unger, Larry 166.96

Uniforms Unlimited 551.88

United Parcel Service 102.43

University of Minnesota 4022.57

Unlinited Electric, Inc. 1158.82

Utility Systems of America 58,257.78

Wal-Mart Store 01-1577 426.54

Weness, Gary 222.48

West ABE Consortium 3000.00

Westside Equipment 1549.51

Wright County Highway Dept. 1144.83

Wright County Journal Press 129.65

Wright Hennepin Electric 108.04

Wurm, Keith Construction 1400.00

Xcel Energy 188.73

44 payments less than $100 2238.69

Final Total $676,550.79

The meeting adjourned at 10:26 A.M.

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