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Wright County Board Minutes

DECEMBER 16, 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 12-2-03 were corrected: page 3, 4th paragraph, 7th sentence, change from "He referenced language..." to "Eichelberg referenced language..." (Eichelberg); page 3, 4th paragraph, 8th sentence should read, "Sawatzke responded that the Orderly Annexation Board was ruled illegal by the Courts." (Sawatzke); page 3, 6th paragraph, change the spelling from "LaFave" to "LeFebvre" (Mattson). Mattson moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Heeter, carried 4-0 (Russek abstained from the vote as he was not present at the 12-2-03 Board Meeting).

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Amend Consent Agenda Item 1A to include the following performance appraisals, "C. Barnaal, B. Peterson, Ct. Svcs.; L. Westphal, M. Gardner, Recorder" (Norman); Item For Consid. #7, "GRRL Board Appointment" (Heeter). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

Mattson requested discussion on Consent Item G1A, "Dennis Beise (Rockford Twp.). Approve Request To Rezone From AG To A/R. If the zoning is approved, the following recommendation should follow: Planning Commission unanimously recommends the establishment of a Rural Planned Unit Development District." On a motion by Heeter, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:


1. Performance Appraisals: M. Ruzicka, Aud./Treas.; B. Leinonen, J. Nelson, D. Redden, Hwy.; J. Adelman, IT; J. Benn, J. Bodin, C. Burton, T. Korbel, D. Lange, P. O'Malley, Sher./Corr.; C. Barnaal, B. Peterson; Ct. Svcs.; L. Westphal, M. Garner, Recorder.

2. Approve/Authorize Signatures, Change Order #5, $27,531.00.

3. Claim, Scott Builders, $1,274.00.

4. Claim, Nelson Building & Development Inc., $123,891.40.

5. Claim, E.M. Branstrom Assoc. Arch. Inc., $17,820.32.

6. Claim, Frank Madden, $580.35.

7. Charitable Gambling Application LG 220, Rainbow Sportsman Club, Cokato Lake (Cokato Twp.).

8. O/T Report, Period Ending 11-21-03.

9. O/T Report, Period Ending 12-05-03.

10. Approve/Authorize Signatures On Law Enforcement Contracts, Cokato, Monticello & Clearwater.

11. 3rd Quarter Training Reports.

12. Direct IT Department To Install Non-Ringing Phone In The Board Room.


1. Claim, MFRA, October Services, $938.70 (Fund 61-Sewer).

2. 2004 Tobacco License Renewals: Coborn's, Coborn's Liquor, Heidi's Market (Albertville); Coborn's, Coborn's Liquor (Clearwater City); Wessman Oil Inc. (Cokato City); Delano American Legion #377, Little Duke's, Coborn's, Dave's Town Club, Flippin Bill's (Delano); Lantto's Store (French Lake Twp.); Cub Foods, SuperAmerica #4479, Monty Tobacco (Monticello City); Blackwoods Grill & Bar (Otsego); Woody's On Main (Rockford City); SuperAmerica #4554, Ditto's Bar, Hi 101 Liquor (St. Michael).


1. Acknowledge Resignation, Sara Kuhn, Court Clerk, Eff. 12-19-03 & Authorize Replacement. Authorize filling of any subsequent positions should the position be filled from within expediting the recruitment process with the pending court system hiring freeze schedule for our district on 1-1-04.

2. Acknowledge Hire, Stacey M. Ericksen, Court Attendant, Eff. 12-29-03 (Class B, Step 3).

3. Acknowledge Hire, Barbara A. Stone, Court Attendant, Eff. 12-17-03 (Class B, Step 3).

4. Acknowledge Hire, Anita S. Nathan, Court Attendant, Eff. 12-17-03 (Class B, Step 3).

5. Acknowledge Resignation, Janelle Webb, Court Clerk, Eff. 1-02-04 & Authorize Replacement. Authorizing filling of any subsequent positions should the position be filled from within expediting the recruitment process with the pending court system hiring freeze schedule for our district on 1-01-04.


1. Approve Hire, Janelle Webb, Case Aide, Eff. 1-05-04.


1. Approval Of 2003 Maintenance Agreement Between Wright County & The City Of Monticello.

2. Approval Of Municipal Maintenance Payments For Nine Cities.

3. Approval Of 2003 Maintenance Agreement (And Payment) Between Wright County & The City Of Buffalo For A Portion Of CR 134.


1. Refer To Building Committee: Review Security Systems & Processes.


1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezonings:

B. Curthis Christensen (Franklin Twp.). Approve Request To Rezone From AG & Part S-2 To A/R & S-2.

The Board discussed Consent Item G1A, "Dennis Beise (Rockford Twp.). Approve Request To Rezone From AG To A/R. If the zoning is approved, the following recommendation should follow: Planning Commission unanimously recommends the establishment of a Rural Planned Unit Development District." Mattson inquired on the size of the PUD and felt Beise should pay the cost of any turn lanes required. Russek responded there will be 11 lots. Beise has 80 acres and is clustering homes in one area near the Rockford Township Hall. As part of the approval of the PUD, all road accesses, etc., must be approved by the Highway Department. Mattson moved to approve Item G1A, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, stated that annually the official County newspaper is approved. A bid from the Howard Lake Herald was opened. The cost per column inch reflected is $.25. The bid includes archival of Board minutes on their website at no additional charge. Mattson moved to lay the bid over for one week, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

The November Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines were discussed. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, referenced page 15, Planning & Zoning, and noted that the revenue has not been collected for the environmental health grant. Norman will direct Planning & Zoning to bill Human Services so it is receipted in the December report. Norman referenced page 20, Civil Defense, Line 6621, Furniture & Equipment. This line item is significantly over what was budgeted. This may be due to grant funding but is not reflected in revenues. He suggested that Gruber contact Reese. Norman referenced page 25, Non-Departmental, and said after the spread of taxes the amounts are significantly under what they should be. He questioned whether there are still taxes due to be spread over the three major budgets or whether the County will collect less this year. Gruber will check into this as he had the same concern. He felt that possibly the 2nd half farm taxes were not reflected in the report as they were due November 15th. Norman noted that on the Revenue side, the three major State Aids the County receives are significantly under what they should be. Gruber stated that these come in at the end of the year. Russek moved to acknowledge receipt of the Guidelines, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

Gruber presented another proposal for the official County newspaper. The proposal had been received but was on a staff member's desk. The bid from Dassel Cokato Enterprise Dispatch was opened and reflected a cost of $.50 per inch for legals. Sawatzke moved to lay this bid over for one week and to accept the bid as timely, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

An update was provided on County Ditch #33. Fyle's Excavating has completed the work with the exception of brush burning. The brush will be dried and burned at a later date. A bill for $18,287.50 (95% of work) has been paid. A bill has not been received for the brush work. Gruber said Kerry Saxton has reviewed the work and feels the project turned out well. Sawatzke extended thanks to Saxton, Gruber and Asleson for their time and effort on this project.

Sawatzke provided an update on another area of County Ditch #33. Approximately 4 weeks ago a notice was received from a resident that there was a sink hole in the area where work was completed on CR #18. At that time, the Board directed the Highway Department to review the problem. It was determined that a utility company was responsible for the problem and they will correct the situation. This was provided as an informational item.

Mattson stated a request had been received from the Parks Administrator for beaver trapping in Ney Park. Swanson Brothers reviewed the site and will wait until the ice freezes to proceed.

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

Jay Morrell approached the Board with a request to have the penalty forgiven on his 2nd half 2002 real estate taxes. The tax has nothing to do with JME of Monticello as listed on the Agenda. The property is owned by Morrell. A check was made payable to Wright County for the taxes by Morrell's controller. At the same time, tax payments were made to other counties and all payments were mailed. In December, it was discovered the check to Wright County had not been processed by the bank. Upon investigation, the Wright County Auditor/Treasurer's Office confirmed they had not received the check. Morrell was assessed a $1152.00 penalty, which was paid. Morrell filed a missing envelope claim with the postal service but nothing has turned up. The Wright County Auditor's Office explained their process to him, stating 2-3 people look in all of the tax payment envelopes to assure they are emptied. Morrell did provide his check register as proof that the check was in sequence with the checks written to other counties on October 9th. Morrell understood that the County's past practice is not to forgive penalties, but said the Legislature has a provision in the statute to allow for abatement of the penalty when it is fair and just. Eichelberg commented that the County has not forgiven penalties even when items are postmarked one day late. Russek stated that there is not even a postmark to go by in this situation as the check has not been found. All the Board has to go by is a date in a check register. If the Board were to accept this position, anyone in the future could make the same argument. Sawatzke said he felt the check had been written. However, the check could have been lost in Morrell's office, in transport, at the postal service, or at the County. He was also concerned with precedence. Morrell made the suggestion that the Auditor's Office change the size of the remittance envelope to business size. It was clarified that in order for the County Board to act upon forgiveness of the penalty, the Auditor/Treasurer must be in concurrence with the action. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the statute is written so that the Assessor must concur with such requests if the issue involves valuation and the Auditor must concur if penalties and interest are involved. Gruber stated although each situation is different, there are approximately six cases per year when similar problems occur. Some involve postmark date. Morrell was informed that if the check were to be found, the penalty would be returned to him. Heeter moved to not take action on this penalty, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

At 9:45 A.M., the regular meeting was closed and the Public Hearing commenced for the supplemental assessments for sanitary sewer improvements for the Lake Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Sewer District. Asleson referenced a draft resolution which outlines the ability to assess additional charges for the construction of the sewer system per statute. Included with the draft was a list of those parcels which would receive credits or additional assessments. Brian Oakley, Project Engineer from MFRA, was present for discussion.

Al Miller, Lake Martha, indicated he will be responsible for an additional $492.00 for another septic tank. Miller stated the original plan shows two septic tanks and that he should not be assessed additionally if a mistake was made. He referenced the additional payments which have been required and felt they should stop.

Lon Voigt, 967 Hamilton Ave. SE, owns more than one parcel in the sewer district and will be assessed an additional $1621.14. This is due to an additional 51' required for the project. He said Tom Christenson from MFRA was out before their home was built to review plans and measured 110' from the road. A stake was put in where the septic was to be stubbed in. A core drill stub was also added. Everything for the sewer project was installed prior to his home construction and nothing changed. Approximately $60,000 was paid for all of his parcels and he continues to receive bills. His other parcel at 583 Halsey Avenue SE will have a $1230.00 assessment which is a total of $2800.00 extra. He also met with Christenson at this site. They had wanted to place a lift station on the back side of the house and it was agreed that the lift station would be eliminated in the house. This would reduce the distance and the cost would be about the same or slightly more. Voigt hired a plumber and completed the necessary work when instructed by the contractor. Voigt is being billed for an extra core drill stub and septic tank. He said he only has one tank and was unsure how they came up with two. He said with a new house, the contractor did not have to redo yardwork or crush a tank, but he ended up paying the same as those who had this work completed.

Oakley explained the timing of what had transpired. The first visit by himself or Christenson to properties involved a preliminary layout. Next came plans, specifications, and the bids were awarded. Then stakes were installed. Things may have changed from the initial meeting to just prior to construction. At the beginning of the sewer project, it was agreed that there would be changes and there were (approximately 50 out of 153 properties). Specific to the Voigt property at 583 Halsey Ave. SE, Oakley said there was nothing additional added for building sewer or the sewer line. The extra cost was for service requested. Originally, they wanted a basement pump and it was changed to a pump outside of the home. This would result in charges for a core drill and extra depth. There was also a septic tank added to their home. The fee for abandoned tanks or pumping tanks are the same. Their tank was pumped and filled with sand. That would make up the difference between one and two tanks.

Asleson clarified that each home-owner received an initial assessment notice with itemized costs. At the original public hearing, it was stated that cost adjustments would be made at the end of the project. Each property owner also received a notice of today's hearing, with an itemized listing of charges. They had about two weeks for review and were encouraged to contact Oakley if they had technical questions. Asleson said he would like approval of the resolution in order to place the assessments on the 2004 tax statements. If there were contested properties, they could be removed from the resolution.

Allen Miller, 7726 10th St. NE. He is being charged for an additional septic tank and said he only had one. He understood that pumping of tanks would be at the same cost but he felt $492.00 was unreasonable for 1 cubic yard of sand. He was also charged for a 50' extension cord ($245.00). He recommended the vendor not be certified to perform work in the County until this issue is resolved.. He was also charged for a 32' extension cord ($150.00) which he does not have. He said the original price was $75/quarter for use of the sewage system. Now it is over $100. The reason provided for the increase was the many trips to the pump station for repair. He felt this was a design problem.

Robert Johnson, 717 Hansack Ave. SE, paid his initial assessment. A letter was sent to him inquiring whether any work still needed to be completed. The sod people were to have come back but never did. He said the work to be completed at his place was written down when he first met with MFRA and he did not feel it was fair he was billed additionally. He requested this issue be cleared up today.

Tom Lifto represented Susan Lifto's property at 265 Halsey Ave. SE. They initially met with MFRA. When installation occurred, the pipe appeared to be coming out of the ground in the wrong locations. Lifto inquired whether he had to redo the electrical work and understood he did not have to. One year later, they are receiving a bill for $304.13. He would have moved the electrical box for the cost of the 16' extension cord. Oakley said there was some confusion with the homeowners on the grinder pump location. The pipe comes out of the ground 20' past where the pump is located. He did not feel any changes were made from the original layout with regard to the grinder pump location. A memo was sent to homeowners on electrical service indicating they were responsible for providing a circuit with a certain amount of voltage, amperage and a shutoff switch to allow the service technicians to turn the power off to the home. This was to be within 10' of the grinder station. A 32' cord was provided with the pump. The next size is 50' and then 100'. Although there have been complaints on the cost of the cords, they are furnished by the grinder company and there is not an alternate source for them.

Julie Voight, 967 Hamilton Ave. SE, said they had new construction so there were no tanks to fill or crush. She was told people were getting money back when they did their own restoration. She felt when she paid her assessments they were paid in full. Nothing was said at the time that there were extra charges pending. Oakley said the original assessment was based on a phone conversation and house plans were never received. It was estimated that 60' would be required but it ended up being 110' installed. The service stub was based on a stub on the outside of a footing wall. However, the contractor had a problem with locating the service. He said he could not have projected what additional costs there would have been until all the punch list items were totaled and the differences were reviewed.

Oakley had a phone conversation with Kevin Potter who was unable to attend. The location of the grinder pump was changed so additional charges were added for building sewer and service line. After their discussion, Oakley felt the service line should not have been added. Potter was still unsatisfied and wanted the entire assessment deleted. Oakley said he could not recommend this but said he would relay Potter's concern to the Board.

Oakley also had a phone conversation with Doug Skelly, 57 Halsey Ave. SE. He was concerned with the cost of the electrical cord and felt the electrical line added was incorrect (not 22' but 12'). Oakley told him they would change this based on his measurement.

Duane Brown, 8th St. SE, was assessed for two tanks during construction. This was already stricken from the list of supplemental charges.

John & Theresa Witstine, 7426 9th St. SE. A person at the meeting stated the Witstine's were unable to attend and were planning on putting their complaint in writing.

Asleson attempted to mail a notice to David Abraham as there had been a transfer of the property since the project commenced. There has not been a title transfer yet.

Asleson said the County is not funding this project through the General Levy but through a dedicated fund in the Auditor's Office. The charges are spread amongst those who live in this district. It was the consensus of the Board that the following supplemental charges be removed from the resolution being adopted today: Kevin & Karene Potter ($642.06); Allen & Elaine Miller ($770.30); Alan & Donna Miller ($492.00); John & Theresa Witstine ($1,286.58); Julianne K. Hoel Voight ($1,621.14); Lon L. Voigt ($1,230.00); Robert G. Johnson ($492.00); Susan K. Lifto ($304.13); David B. Abraham ($492.00); Douglas & Janice Skelly ($289.37). Sawatzke suggested that an on site visit be made by Eichelberg, Russek and Oakley with each property owner listed to attempt to resolve their disputes.

The public hearing closed at 10:28 A.M. and the regular meeting reconvened. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #03-75 approving the supplemental assessments for the sanitary sewer improvements for the Lake Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Sewer District. The resolution will be revised reflecting the following names to be stricken: Kevin & Karene Potter ($642.06); Allen & Elaine Miller ($770.30); Alan & Donna Miller ($492.00); John & Theresa Witstine ($1,286.58); Julianne K. Hoel Voight ($1,621.14); Lon L. Voigt ($1,230.00); Robert G. Johnson ($492.00); Susan K. Lifto ($304.13); David B. Abraham ($492.00); Douglas & Janice Skelly ($289.37). Asleson will schedule a meeting in January for MFRA and the two Commissioners to meet with these property owners. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, requested that the Board accept the findings & recommendation of the Planning Commission for denial of the following rezoning & authorize signature of the Notice & Order Of Denial: Hazel Oberpriller (Victor Twp.), on a vote of 6/1 a recommendation was made to deny the request to rezone from AG to B-2. Salkowski noted for the record that the Findings adopted by the Planning Commission were delivered at the Planning Commission meeting to Oberpriller and would not be again today unless changed. Mattson said John Oberpriller passed away before the paperwork was completed. This property had been taxed for 40 years as a commercial piece of property. He said the Township is behind the building of a storage unit at this site. Before the Oberprillers purchased the property, it was used for grain storage by the government. He felt this was a hardship case and would not go along with the Planning Commission's recommendation.

Steve Szarke, Attorney retained by Oberpriller, referenced Exhibit 2 of the Notice, Facts and Issue. He said the first 5 facts listed were correct but that items 6-8 had to do with the adjoining property. There was no longer a junk yard on the existing 4.7 acres that Oberpriller wishes to rezone. He referenced the property being used commercially for 40 years even though it was zoned ag. Prior to this, there were a number of storage bins on the 4.7 acres which were leased to the Federal Government. Szarke referenced Exhibit 3, Legal Standard. He said there is no question that the Planning Commission has broad discretion on denying requests but did not feel they should take neighboring properties into consideration. Under "Specific Criteria" it states that "...the petitioner's land is designated General Agricultural in the Land Use Plan." Szarke felt this may be incorrect. The three major goals of the Land Use Plan were cited, including allowing development in such a way that it makes use of the land in the most "efficient and economical" way so as to protect public funds and investments. Szarke said this was previously a junkyard and public funds were used by the State to pay Oberprillers to buy out the junkyard. Having the property classified as commercial would provide a greater County tax base. The Plan also makes reference to commercial development taking place in and adjacent to existing cities. The Oberpriller property is approximately 2000' from the Howard Lake City limits. Szarke said the Township Board favors the commercial use of this property. The Plan attempts to preserve ag land and rezoning should be considered in rare or unique circumstances. Szarke felt this was one of those situations as the land had been used commercially for 40 years. He urged the Board to deny the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

Russek said the Planning Commission follows the Land Use Plan of each Township and this is zoned ag. Grain bins previously stored on this property would be considered an ag use. The junkyard was not permitted. All land surrounding the 4.7 acres is tillable farm land. Salkowski stated there are seriously contaminated soils from junk, illegal burning and dumping. He felt Mn/DOT was remiss in their hurry to rebuild Highway 12 when they paid to have the junk removed. Attention should have been given to what was dumped on the property. Although this is not explicit in the Planning Commission Findings, he felt this was in their minds when they denied the rezoning and brought up environmental concerns. Regarding the neighboring property, there are now 2 acres that are a separate piece of property which were approved by Planning & Zoning with the strict condition that they are kept clean. This property has continued to be utilized as a junkyard even though there is a State agreement which applies to both properties. Several members of the Planning Commission viewed the site and determined that there are still serious problems to be dealt with before buildings can be placed on those soils. The Assessor's Office classifies property on an entirely different system than the Planning & Zoning Office. What the property was taxed for in the past has nothing to do with the zoning. It was suggested that Szarke meet with Chuck Davis, Environmental Health Officer, to discuss what needs to be done before rezoning could be completed. With the current soil conditions, Salkowski did not feel it made sense to encourage them to proceed. The current process for a zoning denial requires a one-year period before re-application. If the site were cleaned up prior to one year, the Planning Commission may be willing to look at the request because of the new conditions.

Szarke's understanding was the State had already looked at the soil. The packet reviewed by the Board today did not relate to soils at all. He felt the soil conditions were irrelevant for the Board's determination. Russek stated if the Township wants this land designated as commercial, they need to change this in the Land Use Map. Mattson said he spoke with Greg Bakeberg who is completely behind the request for storage buildings. Mattson moved to authorize the building of a storage facility on the property if the Planning Commission and the Oberpriller family can work out an agreement on what will be allowable there. The motion did not pass due to the lack of a second.

Russek supported the Planning Commission's recommendation due to the Land Use Plan map. Russek moved to accept the Findings and recommendations of the Planning Commission for denial of the rezoning and authorize signature on the Notice and Order of Denial. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Mattson stated the property was taxed as commercial but classified as ag. Russek responded that they were taxed as commercial as that was how it was being used at the time. It was actually illegal use of the land prior to the Land Use Plan. Mattson did not feel there was illegal use and that it was not spot zoning. Heeter felt this issue was different due to soil concerns and the commercial taxes paid. She inquired whether there was a way to move forward on the issue with stipulations. Mrs. Oberpriller said that the State completed soil borings and found nothing. Russek responded that this information was not presented to the Planning Commission. Those who went on the site inspection came back with a recommendation for denial. The motion carried 3-2 with Mattson and Heeter casting the nay vote.

The meeting recessed at 10:55 A.M. and reconvened at 11:03 A.M.

Bruce Thielen, Monticello Mayor, clarified that the City did request time on the Agenda but he was present to represent the Wright County Mayor's Association to discuss annexation issues specific to Monticello Township and Resolution 03-74 passed by the Board several weeks ago. Correspondence was received from the Wright County Mayor's Association requesting that the Board rescind this Resolution, stating the Board has a responsibility and duty to the public to represent all cities and townships equally. Several mayors were present today for the discussion. Thielen referenced another letter signed by City officials also requesting withdrawal of the Resolution. Fred Naaktgeboren, City of Buffalo Mayor and President of the Wright County's Mayor's Association, said the Mayor's Association as an organization was asking for withdrawal as they feel the action interferes with legal matters between Monticello and the Township. He was shocked that the Board only took testimony of the Township and thought the County should remain neutral.

Naaktgeboren said that on a personal level, he did not view entering orderly annexation agreements with townships as easy. The City of Buffalo has negotiated two agreements with Buffalo Township. There was also one worked out with Chatham Township. It was a difficult process and just after an agreement by both parties, the Township Officers did not favor it. His fear was it may be more difficult to reach orderly annexation agreements with townships if the County Board places themselves between the cities and townships. Another issue is the tremendous amount of township development near cities which will affect potential growth of cities. Naaktgeboren said they need to bring the townships to the table to agree on reasonable annexation rates. He asked that the Board not take one side against another but let the legal process work itself out.

Jeff Young, Monticello Township, thanked the Board for adopting the Resolution. He said the Monticello City Administrator had been invited to attend the Board meeting when the Resolution was discussed but was unable to attend. Young said Monticello Township is very rural. He distributed a copy of a questionnaire from the City on frequently asked questions relating to the annexation. The annexation proposal is for the City to annex 11,500 acres of the Township. He said the Township will work with the City as long as there is a reasonable type commitment. Sawatzke said the day prior to the Board adopting the Resolution, he met with Rick Wolfsteller, Monticello City Administrator. At that time, Wolfsteller indicated that he had a copy of the resolution. Sawatzke said he invited him to attend and that there were also people in City Hall who heard that discussion.

Nancy Christenson is a landowner in Monticello Township. When the Monticello Orderly Annexation process was in effect, her family's farm and home could be represented. She felt with the City's action, they no longer had a process. She thought the four Commissioners voted correctly when adopting the Resolution instructing the parties to return to the process that served well previously. She asked that the Board not support the City's request to rescind their action.

Wayne Kessler, St. Michael Mayor, referenced the St. Michael/Frankfort Township merger. When that process started, he encouraged St. Michael to annex the Township entirely and that is what happened. He supported the Board, cities and townships working together as there are many problems that can be rectified by working together. Since he has been Mayor, he felt they had been out-hustled by townships and their officers. He thought the cities have not been political enough and may have to be in the future. He said St. Michael pays $400,000 in Sheriff costs annually and their costs for service are lower than many townships, who don't pay anything. He was concerned with those types of issues. The only thing he could find fault with in the St. Michael/Frankfurt merger was that it didn't happen sooner. Russek responded that the merger was a mutual agreement between the two governing bodies and the land acquired was not 11,500 acres. Kessler said they were fortunate that for the most part, there was no opposition. That is why they are talking about working together. Russek stated the County Board was not suggesting that the cities and township not work together but rather encouraged them to do so. Heeter concurred and said that is the reason she supported the Resolution. She referenced the word "reasonable" which had been used many times today and wondered whether 11,500 acres in one sweep was reasonable. Kessler said land in St. Michael is scheduled to be farmed for years. Sawatzke questioned whether some farmers were forced to sell their land due to the assessments. Kessler responded when the line was run to Hanover, it had to be laid in front of some farms but the cost was delayed for 20 years. The property owner pays the cost of the install at the time it is paid off.

Russek said if Monticello Township came to the Board and requested all land to the freeway, the City would also be in to discuss this with the Board. Although he was not present when the Resolution was adopted, he wanted to encourage the City and Township to work together. He felt a plan should be worked out that would receive the support of the Township.

Thielen referenced the handout which Young provided and said it is a draft to answer questions. The process needs to be defined and discussed with the Township. Thielen referenced the Resolution which indicates that the City dissolved the OAA. He said this is wrong. The Resolution further states (in summary) that the Board does not want to remove control of the area from planning controls by the County as it would not be in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the residents and property owners. He questioned how the Board would know this and stated the City will work with the Township. Mattson represents 8 townships and 5 cities and he said they work well together. Mattson referenced the Municipal Boundaries Agenda and questioned whether the City had been following the basic planning steps. Thielen said they are working by State statute and started the process December 5th. The City met with the Township in August and asked the intent of the Township's planning & zoning. The reply was they were looking at large lot development which concerns the City. The City is trying to plan for infrastructure and has the responsibility to spend tax dollars wisely. Mattson referenced instances where acreage had been annexed into Monticello City in 2003 and said the Township had been working with them. Thielen replied that the minutes don't reflect the entire story.

Sawatzke referenced the dissolution of the OAA Board. Sawatzke served on the OAA Board for 12 years and said the Court of Appeals made a decision which invalidated the use of the OAA Plan. That did not invalidate the OAA Board. The City then asked a local District Judge to invalidate the OAA Board which did happen. In reference to the annexation of 11,500 acres not being in the best interest of area residents, he said 99% of the residents don't want to be annexed and questioned why the City would know better than all of them what was best. Sawatzke said the residents were not given a chance to speak at the City level but the County will listen to them. With regard to the County not being involved, Sawatzke said the County is the land use authority and should take a position on land use in that area. He said Board members use this as part of their campaign. Sawatzke said when Thielen ran for Mayor, Thielen indicated that he wouldn't be involved with this type of activity. Thielen responded that it was this type of interference by Sawatzke that causes problems between the City and Township. Thielen felt it was a projection to say 99% of the residents don't agree with annexation. He said the City will meet with the Township and follow the State Statute.

Glen Posusta, property and business owner in Monticello, was opposed to what the City was trying to do. He said there are residents of the City who also are not in support of this action. He suggested putting the annexation to a vote by the people and to not rely on the court system.

There was no motion brought forth to rescind Resolution #03-74 so the discussion ended.

A letter was received from an Attorney representing Gold Nugget Development with regard to a penalty paid under the Utility Permit Policy of the Highway Department. A letter from Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, to the Board was included in the packet for review. The letter outlined what had transpired including notification to Gold Nugget as early as July 2003 that Wright County would not allow open cutting of CR 117. A completed access permit application and fee, a utility permit, and a bond (or letter of credit) were also required. On 10-8-03, Gold Nugget's contractor closed CR 117 with barricades and detours and made an open cut on CR 117. They did not have a utility permit granting them permission to work in the right of way. Gold Nugget was informed on 10-8-03 that the road needed to be repaired immediately and that proper paperwork was essential for the project to continue. The County previously assessed a $10,000 fine to Minnegasco for installing a gas main in a location different from what the permit allowed. There is not a utility ordinance at this time but a utility policy was adopted by the Board in 1989 which has been the basis for activites to protect the highways in the County. Fingalson said if a permit would have been granted they would not have allowed open cutting but would have required jacking or cutting under the road. This would have cost the contractor about $7000-$8000.

Horst Graser, Gold Nugget Development, referenced Section 5 of the Utility Policy allowing the County the authority to impose a fine at $25/day based on the number of days. He was unsure how the fine amounted to $10,000. They had applied for the permit and the only thing lacking was the letter of credit. The bank that issued the letter sent it to the wrong location and it was returned to Gold Nugget. Once Graser discovered this, he faxed a copy to the County. Graser said they have spent a lot of money redeveloping the road and spacing for the intersections are based on the City's guidelines, as provisions were already made for the City to take over the road. The final plat and drawings were approved with an open cut. He said he normally is not involved in that much detail, as engineers design the plat and the City approves it. He said they immediately patched the road. He did not feel the County Engineer had the latitude to arbitrarily establish a fine. Fignalson referenced the Utility Policy which does allow the County to impose a Penalty Fee. With the estimate of a $7000 cost to the contractor to perform the work without an open cut, they felt the $10,000 fine was appropriate. This was also consistent with what they had charged Minnegasco. Fingalson subsequently spoke with Graser and agreed to reduce the penalty to $7500, which was paid. Asleson said the letter from Graser's Attorney requests two actions: 1) Discipline of County employees; 2) A refund of the penalty. Fingalson said the staff were doing their jobs carrying out County policy. This was not the first time a fine had been imposed and a number of violations had been identified. The reason for these fines is to protect the roads and traveling public. Asleson said Statute allows cities and utilities to place items in the right of way, but they are subject to reasonable regulations by the governing body. He felt County employees were acting appropriately and it did not warrant pursuing personnel matters. Russek moved to accept the recommendation of the Highway Department for the $7500 fine. Included in the motion is the consensus that personnel acted appropriately and no further action is needed. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

At the 11-25-03 Board Meeting, Asleson was directed to draw up written Findings on the request for a setback variance under the Feedlot Ordinance for Craig Lindberg. Sawatzke moved to adopt the Findings and Order granting the setback variance, seconded by Russek. Eichelberg said he was still against the request. Surrounding counties have further setbacks than 500'. He was concerned with more housing in the area and odor problems. Sawatzke said the support of the ag community from the Board was clear. He assured Eichelberg that he would not have sympathy for anyone in the future who complains of odor from this feedlot. The motion carried 4-1 with Eichelberg casting the nay vote.

Mattson left the meeting at 12:00 P.M.

A Budget Of The Whole Meeting was held on 12-02-03. Heeter moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0:

Indirect vs Direct Cost Allocation Plan. Larry DeMars explained a change to direct cost allocation would result in Human Services being billed by the County for various functions/services provided by other departments such as processing payroll checks, attorney costs, personnel and purchasing, IT support, etc. These costs would then be eligible for Federal reimbursement. It was noted that while reimbursement would not be 100% it would result in an increase in revenue. During the transition to a direct cost method the Human Services budget would show a deficit for services to the County. Hiivala stated the County Board has the authority to amend the budget reflecting a decrease in the General Fund levy and increase in the Human Services levy, with no impact on the total dollars levied. There was general consensus to implement a direct cost allocation plan as soon as possible. Norman, Hiivala, Gruber and DeMars will work out the details and present to the County Board for approval. Recommendation: Approve and implement a direct cost allocation plan.

A Drainage Authority Workshop Meeting was held on 12-2-03. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0:

Continuation Of Discussion Re: The Formulation Of A Policy Dealing With County Ditches In Urbanizing Areas. Asleson distributed and reviewed an outline of various questions to consider when a request has been received to use a drainage system, along with applicable notations from State Statute. The intent is to develop a policy which would provide direction to the County Board as the Drainage Authority in dealing with drainage issues resulting from development throughout the County. The outline was discussed along with: 1) requirement for a ditch inspector, 2) a ditch inventory, 3) incorporating drainage issues as part of the Planning Commission review process in approving plat development and showing County ditches on plat maps, 4) recording County ditches and easements on abstracts, 5) buffer strips, and 6) public hearing notification requirements and recovering costs. Eichelberg requested Asleson forward a copy of the outline to Brad Wozney at SWCD. Asleson will incorporate points from today's discussion into a revised handout and set a future meeting date.

A Truth In Local Taxation Public hearing was held on 12-4-03. The purpose was to discuss the proposed Budget and Taxable Certified Levy for 2004. The total Budget and Certified Levy were presented for review. Factors impacting the 2004 budget are the overall growth of the County, the County facing severe State Aid cuts, and the increased costs associated with the Criminal Justice System. The 2004 draft budget was set for $71,612,771 (1.5% decrease from 2003). The Local Share Increase was set at $27,963,182 (12.4% increase from 2003). An overview of the handout material was provided. At today's County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0.

On amotion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to appoint Jerry Crocker of Monticello to the Solid Waste Task Force.

Russek moved to adopt Resolution #03-76 in support of a Charitable Gambling Application for the Annandale Lions Club, Lake Center Bar & Grill (Corinna Twp.). The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.

Russek moved to adopt Resolution #03-77 setting the total Certified Taxable Levy and 2004 Budget. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote:


BE IT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby establishes the 2004 Certified Taxable Levy as follows:


General Revenue $13,388,590

Road and Bridge $2,951,368

Human Services $6,171,700

Sub-Total $22,511,658


Less: HACA/CPA $1,905,158

NET TAXABLE LEVY $20,606,500


Plus Special Levies:

Corrections $4,232,229

Lake Pulaski LID $49,350

Debt Service $3,075,103




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


General Revenue $31,586,352

Road and Bridge $18,192,266

Human Services $18,709,700

Debt Service $3,075,103

Lake Pulaski LID $49,350

TOTAL BUDGET $71,612,771


On a motion by Heeter, second by Sawatzke, all voted to appoint Wayne Rebischke from Buffalo to the GRRL Board of Trustees.

Bills Approved

AAA Striping Service, Inc. 9799.43

Abrahamson, Brian 186.12

Air-Hydraulic Systems, Inc. 171.42

Allina Medical 792.00

American Institutional Supply 239.06

Ameripride Linen and Apparel 222.78

AMI Imaging Systems, inc. 1721.52

Ancom Technical Center 2712.13

Annandale Advocate 157.50

Annandale City 1327.66

Aramark Correctional Services 9480.30

Arch Wireless 100.23

AT&T 131.40

Auto Glass Center, Inc. 418.10

Automatic Garage Door & Firepl 1100.40

B&D Plumbing & Heating 568.00

Backes, Joe 213.48

Bob Barker Co. 173.80

Beaudry Propane, Inc. 2526.21

Behavioral Personnel Systems L 437.00

Berntsen International Inc. 231.00

BLM Technologies, Inc. 494.51

Bound Tree Medical LLC 490.03

Bowman Distribution 697.56

BP Amoco 250.37

Buffalo Bituminous 94,052.55

Buffalo Communications, Inc. 13,855.62

Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Commerci 1600.60

Buffalo Quality Feed Mill 754.60

Buffalo City 29,590.89

Cameron, Tim 125.00

Carver County Juvenile Detenti 580.00

CDW Government, Inc. 1569.37

Center Point Energy 14,874.23

Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 19,035.08

Central Lock & Safe 278.50

Central McGowan, Inc. 2315.32

Climate Air 1077.75

Clinnet Solutions LLC 214.00

Cokato City 1623.70

Collins Brothers Towing 259.83

Commissioner of Transportation 2218.03

Construction Bulletin 185.00

Copy Shop, The 148.44

H Cragg Co. 1697.19

Cub Foods 611.79

Culligan of Buffalo 600.00

Deatons Mailing Systems, Inc. 996.00

Delano City 5152.71

Dental Care Associates of Buff 334.00

East Central Regional juvenile 9780.00

ECM Publishers, Inc. 222.75

Energy Sales, Inc. 399.17

Erickson, Josh 170.28

Ernst General Construction, Inc. 1390.00

Facility Systems, Inc. 8413.56

Feddema, Tom 147.60

Fleet Computing international 675.00

French Lake Township 3227.16

Frontier Precision, Inc. 376.80

G&K Services 1398.88

G O Corporation 3172.90

Gale-TEC Engineering, Inc. 9931.10

Gall's, Inc. 200.36

Gateway Companies, Inc. 4144.96

GCS Service, Inc. 174.00

General Pallet, Inc. 272.50

Gholson, Janet 288.84

Glunz, Raymond 200.00

Gould Bros. Chev-Olds 133.13

W Grainger, Inc. 197.12

Grand View Lodge 535.00

Greenview, Inc. 558.08

H&L Mesabi 1126.22

Jim Hatch Sales Company, Inc. 114.55

Heeter, Karla 252.54

Herald Journal Publishing, Inc. 168.81

Hickorytech-Wireless 669.50

highway 55 Trailer Sales 1102.88

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 2610.45

Holiday 2210.81

Holt Motors, Inc. 191.71

Howard Lake City 1496.58

International Code Council 280.00

Internet Strategies 260.00

Interstate All Battery Center 438.78

Interstate Battery Sys of Mpls 344.07

Intoximeters, Inc. 1379.71

J Craft Div. of Crysteel Mfg. 64,815.60

Jerrys Towing & Repair 126.18

JMD Manufacturing, Inc. 3125.00

RM Johnson Co., Inc. 782.78

JR's Appliance Disposal, Inc. 945.00

Kandiyohi Cty Sheriffs Departm 8329.58

KNR Communications Services 280.52

Lakedale Telephone Company 432.69

Lantto, Lilia 135.00

LaPlant Demo, Inc. 538.44

Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. 203.80

Law Enforcement Technology Gr 510.00

Lawson Products, inc. 472.38

Loberg Electric 672.30

M-R Sign Company, Inc. 1191.98

Maple Lake Lumber Company 725.59

Maple Lake Messenger 118.13

Maple Lake City 1162.84

Marco Business Products 6467.11

Marks Standard Parts 2239.62

Martin-McAllisters consulting 700.00

Masys Corporation 7528.87

Mattson Well Company 1386.50

McCombs Frank Roos Associates 938.70

McDowall Company 1052.00

Medics Training, Inc. 185.00

Meeker County Sheriff 266.20

Midwest Contracting, LLC 2137.50

MN Assn of CVSO 120.00

MN Supreme Court 218.00

MN Transportation Alliance 440.00

Mobile Vision 635.43

Monticello Auto Body, Inc. 149.21

Monticello Ford Mercury, Inc. 1454.08

Montrose City 388.28

Moon Motor Sales, Inc. 172.05

Nat'l Soc. of Professn'l Engnrs 208.00

National Business Systems, inc. 4513.36

National Recreation & Park Ass 103.00

Nextel Communications 1730.56

Northern Safety Technology 1059.14

Northern Tool & Equipment Co. 111.36

Office Depot 1807.50

Omann Brothers, Inc. 151.59

On Site Monitoring 9374.00

Onsite Medical Service, inc. 200.00

Pakor, Inc. 338.65

Parker, Anne 288.00

Pats 66 180.00

PC Solutions, Inc. 297.12

Photo I 490.74

Powerplan 166.25

Prairie Lake Detention Center 450.00

Praska, Tom 124.56

Precision Prints of Wright Co 339.95

Qwest 1459.78

Record Preservation Inc. 1733.14

Reds Cafe 514.30

Royal Tire, Inc. 5873.60

Ryan Motors, Inc. 528.86

SBC Paging 1030.90

Servicemaster of St. Cloud, Inc. 5112.00

Sherburne County Sheriff 3200.00

Sheriffs Jail Linkage system 890.33

Simplex Grinnell LP 280.00

SKC Communication Products 264.00

Smith Micro Technologies, inc. 105.03

Software House International In 145.91

Speedwell Targets 206.85

Sprint 167.11

St. Cloud Stamp & Sign 163.07

Star Tribune 111.80

State of MN Intertech Group 1078.97

State of MN-Info Tech Div-R HA 483.22

Stepp Mfg. Company, Inc. 2079.69

Stericycle, Inc. 649.20

Strategic Equipment and Supply 570.14

Strategic Technologies, Inc. 3461.25

Streichers 349.11

Sweeney Brothers Tractor 482.81

Tires Plus 841.46

Tom's Snowmobile & Small Engine 313.57

Total Printing 3376.55

Traffic Technologies LLC 378.08

Uniforms Unlimited 2505.66

University of Minnesota 345.00

Unlimited Electric Inc. 3998.30

Vanderlinde, Judy 625.92

Varitech Industries, inc. 111.83

Verizon Wireless 1738.22

Vibes Technologies, Inc. 775.33

Vollbrecht, Shawna 125.00

Waste Management TC West 677.09

Waverly City 1322.58

Weber, Daniel 156.40

Wessman Oil Co. 143.24

West Central Industries 1300.84

West Group Payment Center 128.87

West Sherburne Tribune 196.88

West Suburban industrial Suppl 1414.32

Western Container Company 723.94

Wright County Journal Press 179.74

Wright Hennepin Electric 2059.19

Wright, Jim 100.00

Xcel Energy 121.03

Zack's, Inc. 493.95

63 payments less than $100 2,862.40

Final Total $477,984.61

The meeting adjourned at 12:12 P.M.

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